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Environmental Taxes and Pre-Existing Distortions: The Normalization Trap

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  • Ronnie Schöb

Abstract

The double-dividend hypothesisclaims that green taxes will both improve the environment andreduce the distortions of existing taxes. According to the earlierliterature on the double dividend the tax rate for pollutinggoods should be higher than the Pigovian tax which fully internalizesthe marginal social damage from pollution, in order to obtaina ’second dividend‘. On the contrary, Bovenberg and de Mooij(1994) argue that environmental taxes typically exacerbate, ratherthan alleviate, pre-existing distortions. The optimal pollutiontax should therefore lie below the Pigovian tax. This paper pointsout that there is no real contradiction between these apparentlyopposing policy recommendations. It will be shown that the differencein the results appears because, implicitly, different definitionsof the second-best optimal pollution tax are chosen. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Suggested Citation

  • Ronnie Schöb, 1997. "Environmental Taxes and Pre-Existing Distortions: The Normalization Trap," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(2), pages 167-176, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:4:y:1997:i:2:p:167-176
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008690304507
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fullerton, Don, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxes: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 245-251, March.
    2. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2003. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation:: Pigou, taxation and pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 313-322, February.
    3. Fullerton, Don & Wolverton, Ann, 2005. "The two-part instrument in a second-best world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1961-1975, September.
    4. Bjertnæs, Geir H. & Tsygankova, Marina & Martinsen, Thomas, 2013. "Norwegian climate policy reforms in the presence of an international quota market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 147-158.
    5. Giménez, Eduardo L. & Rodríguez, Miguel, 2010. "Reevaluating the first and the second dividends of environmental tax reforms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6654-6661, November.
    6. Charles Ballard & John Goddeeris & Sang-Kyum Kim, 2005. "Non-Homothetic Preferences and the Non-Environmental Effects of Environmental Taxes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(2), pages 115-130, March.
    7. : Eduardo L. Giménez (a) & Miguel Rodríguez, "undated". "Pigou’S Dividend Versus Ramsey’S Dividend In The Double Dividend Literature," Working Papers 2-06 Classification-JEL :, Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
    8. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2001. "Environmental controls, scarcity rents, and pre-existing distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 249-267, May.
    9. Nakabayashi, Masanari, 2010. "Optimal tax rules and public sector efficiency with an externality in an overlapping generations model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1028-1040, December.
    10. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. WilliamsIII, Roberton C., 2001. "Tax normalizations, the marginal cost of funds, and optimal environmental taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 137-142, April.
    12. Thomas Gaube, 2005. "Second-Best Pollution Taxation and Environmental Quality," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_9, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    13. Ann Wolverton & Don Fullerton, 2000. "Two Generalizations of a Deposit-Refund Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 238-242, May.
    14. Pitafi, Basharat A.K. & Roumasset, James A., 2002. "Optimal Green Taxation with Both Emission and Commodity Taxes," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19693, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    15. Walls, Margaret, 2003. "The Role of Economics in Extended Producer Responsibility: Making Policy Choices and Setting Policy Goals," Discussion Papers dp-03-11, Resources For the Future.
    16. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421 Elsevier.
    17. Goulder, Lawrence H., 2013. "Climate change policy's interactions with the tax system," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages 3-11.
    18. Taheripour, Farzad & Khanna, Madhu & Nelson, Charles, 2005. "Welfare Impacts of Alternative Public Policies for Environmental Protection in Agriculture in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Framework," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19317, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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