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Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even If They Do Not Take Climate Change into Account

Author

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  • Max Franks

    (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Berlin Institute of Technology)

  • Ottmar Edenhofer

    (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Berlin Institute of Technology
    Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change)

  • Kai Lessmann

    (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

Abstract

Fiscal considerations may shift governmental priorities away from environmental concerns: finance ministers face strong demand for public expenditures such as infrastructure investments but they are constrained by international tax competition. We develop a multi-region model of tax competition and resource extraction to assess the fiscal incentive of imposing a tax on carbon rather than on capital. We explicitly model international capital and resource markets, as well as intertemporal capital accumulation and resource extraction. While fossil resources give rise to scarcity rents, capital does not. With carbon taxes, the rents can be captured and invested in infrastructure, which leads to higher welfare than under capital taxation. This result holds even without modeling environmental damages. It is robust under a variation of the behavioral assumptions of resource importers to coordinate their actions, and a resource exporter’s ability to counteract carbon policies. Further, no green paradox occurs—instead, the carbon tax constitutes a viable green policy, since it postpones extraction and reduces cumulative emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Max Franks & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2017. "Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even If They Do Not Take Climate Change into Account," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 445-472, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9982-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-015-9982-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Siegmeier & Linus Mattauch & Max Franks & David Klenert & Anselm Schultes & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2015. "A Public Finance Perspective on Climate Policy: Six Interactions That May Enhance Welfare," Working Papers 2015.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Adrien Vogt‐Schilb & Stephane Hallegatte, 2017. "Climate policies and nationally determined contributions: reconciling the needed ambition with the political economy," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(6), November.
    3. Lint Barrage, 2020. "Optimal Dynamic Carbon Taxes in a Climate–Economy Model with Distortionary Fiscal Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-39.
    4. Franks, Max & Lessmann, Kai, 2019. "Tax competition with asymmetric endowments in fossil resources," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203560, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Lin, Boqiang & Jia, Zhijie, 2018. "The energy, environmental and economic impacts of carbon tax rate and taxation industry: A CGE based study in China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 558-568.
    6. Karl Zimmermann, 2019. "Public Infrastructure Provision in the Presence of Terms-of-Trade Effects and Tax Competition," EconStor Preprints 193458, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Habla, Wolfgang, 2018. "Climate policy under factor mobility: A (differentiated) case for capital taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 100-124.
    8. Maximilian Kellner & Marco Runkel, 2021. "Climate Policy and Optimal Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 8865, CESifo.
    9. Gregor Schwerhoff & Ottmar Edenhofer & Marc Fleurbaey, 2020. "Taxation Of Economic Rents," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 398-423, April.
    10. Bak, Céline & Bhattacharya, Amar & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Knopf, Brigitte, 2017. "Towards a comprehensive approach to climate policy, sustainable infrastructure, and finance," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 11, pages 1-13.
    11. Habla, Wolfgang, 2016. "The Green Paradox and Interjurisdictional Competition across Space and Time," Working Papers in Economics 668, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    12. Ritter, Hendrik & Runkel, Marco & Zimmermann, Karl, 2019. "Environmental Effects of Capital Income Taxation - A New Double Dividend?," EconStor Preprints 195172, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    13. Runkel, Marco & Kellner, Maximilian, 2018. "Climate Policy and Optimal Public Debt," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181639, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Emmanuel Combet, 2016. "Energy Tax Reform in Time of Crisis - The Case of Energy-Dependent and Open Economies," Working Papers 2016.06, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon pricing; Green paradox; Infrastructure; Optimal taxation; Strategic instrument choice; Supply-side dynamics; Tax competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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