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Energy-Tax Reform with Vertical Tax Externalities


  • Bert Saveyn
  • Stef Proost


The paper is a general equilibrium analysis of an energy-tax reform in a federation, measuring the welfare effects and the vertical tax externalities. Vertical tax externalities may arise when two government levels impose taxes on common tax bases. We show how the magnitude and sign of the vertical externality depend on the environmental goal, the tax-recycling scenario, the initial local and federal tax shares, and the size of the federation. Simulations illustrate the effects for a small European federation (e.g., Belgium) and a large federation (e.g., the U.S.).

Suggested Citation

  • Bert Saveyn & Stef Proost, 2008. "Energy-Tax Reform with Vertical Tax Externalities," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 63-86, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200803)64:1_63:erwvte_2.0.tx_2-k
    DOI: 10.1628//001522108X312078

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dahlby, Bev & Wilson, Leonard S., 2003. "Vertical fiscal externalities in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 917-930, May.
    2. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
    3. Michael Keen, 1998. "Vertical Tax Externalities in the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 454-485, September.
    4. Kunce, Mitch & Shogren, Jason F., 2005. "On interjurisdictional competition and environmental federalism," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 212-224, July.
    5. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1996. "Efficiency and the optimal direction of federal-state transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(2), pages 137-155, May.
    6. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
    7. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
    8. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline & Mouez Fodha, 2005. "Double Dividend with Involuntary Unemployment: Efficiency and Intergenerational Equity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(4), pages 389-403, August.
    9. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Saveyn, Bert & Van Regemorter, Denise & Ciscar, Juan Carlos, 2011. "Economic analysis of the climate pledges of the Copenhagen Accord for the EU and other major countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 34-40.

    More about this item


    Tax reform; vertical tax externality; federalism;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism


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