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Distributional Aspects of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes

  • Walls, Margaret
  • Hanson, Jean
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    Policymakers are beginning to appreciate the efficiency properties of pollution taxes, but concerns over equity remain. In this paper, we assess the distributional aspects of three types of emissions fees for vehicles--a fee based on total annual emissions; a fee based on emissions rates, in grams per mile; and a fee based on annual vehicle mileage--and we compare the impacts of fees to existing vehicle registration fees. We find that all three of the emissions-related fees look quite a bit more regressive, on the basis of annual household income, than do existing registration fees. However, when we construct a lifetime income variable for our households, we find that the differential impacts of the three emissions-related fees over existing fees are quite small.

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    Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

    Volume (Year): 52 (1999)
    Issue (Month): n. 1 (March)
    Pages: 53-65

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    Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:52:y:1999:i:n._1:p:53-65
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    1. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-30, May.
    2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
    4. Barthold, Thomas A., 1993. "How Should We Measure Distribution?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(3), pages 291-99, September.
    5. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1993. "The Lifetime Incidence of State and Local Taxes: Measuring Changes During the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 4252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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