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Public views on carbon taxation and its fairness: a computational-linguistics analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Ivan Savin

    () (ICTA, Edifici Z, UAB Campus
    Ural Federal University
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Stefan Drews

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Sara Maestre-Andrés

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Jeroen Bergh

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    ICREA
    VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

Carbon taxes evoke a variety of public responses, often with negative implications for policy support, implementation, and stringency. Here we use topic modeling to analyze associations of Spanish citizens with a policy proposal to introduce a carbon tax. This involves asking two key questions, to elicit (1) citizens’ associations with a carbon tax and (2) their judgment of the fairness of such a policy for distinct uses of tax revenues. We identify 11 topics for the first question and 18 topics for the second. We perform regression analysis to assess how respondents’ associations relate to their carbon tax acceptability, knowledge, and sociodemographic characteristics. The results show that, compared to people accepting the carbon tax, those rejecting it show less trust in politicians, think that the rich should pay more than the poor, consider the tax to be less fair, and stress more a lack of renewable energy or low-carbon transport. Respondents accepting a carbon tax emphasize more the need to solve environmental problems and care about a just society. These insights can help policymakers to improve the design and communication of climate policy with the aim to increase its public acceptability.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Savin & Stefan Drews & Sara Maestre-Andrés & Jeroen Bergh, 2020. "Public views on carbon taxation and its fairness: a computational-linguistics analysis," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 2107-2138, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:162:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s10584-020-02842-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02842-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sara Maestre-Andrés & Stefan Drews & Jeroen van den Bergh, 2020. "Perceived fairness and public acceptability of carbon pricing: a review of the literature," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(9), pages 1186-1204, July.
    2. Erik Haites, 2018. "Carbon taxes and greenhouse gas emissions trading systems: what have we learned?," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(8), pages 955-966, September.
    3. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    4. Stefan Drews & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2016. "What explains public support for climate policies? A review of empirical and experimental studies," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(7), pages 855-876, October.
    5. Margaret E. Roberts & Brandon M. Stewart & Dustin Tingley & Christopher Lucas & Jetson Leder‐Luis & Shana Kushner Gadarian & Bethany Albertson & David G. Rand, 2014. "Structural Topic Models for Open‐Ended Survey Responses," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(4), pages 1064-1082, October.
    6. Andor, Mark Andreas & Frondel, Manuel & Sommer, Stephan, 2018. "Equity and the willingness to pay for green electricity in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 759, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
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