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Two world views on carbon revenues

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  • Dallas Burtraw

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  • Samantha Sekar

Abstract

The introduction of a price on CO 2 is expected to be more efficient than prescriptive regulation. It also instantiates substantial economic value. Initially, programs allocated this value to incumbent firms (grandfathering), but the growing movement toward auctioning or emissions fees makes carbon revenues into a payment for environmental services. This paper asks to whom should this payment accrue? If the atmosphere resource, as a common property resource, is viewed as the property of government, then the decision of how to use the revenue can be viewed as a fiscal problem, and efficiency considerations dominate. If the atmosphere is viewed as held in common, then the revenue might be considered compensation to owners and delivered as payment to individuals. This decision has efficiency and distributional consequences that affect the political economy and the likelihood and durability of climate policy. We summarize trends among six existing carbon-pricing programs. Copyright AESS 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Dallas Burtraw & Samantha Sekar, 2014. "Two world views on carbon revenues," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 4(1), pages 110-120, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jenvss:v:4:y:2014:i:1:p:110-120
    DOI: 10.1007/s13412-013-0151-y
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s13412-013-0151-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.
    2. A. Mitchell Polinsky, 1972. "Probabilistic Compensation Criteria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 407-425.
    3. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer, 2008. "Compensation rules for climate policy in the electricity sector," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 819-847.
    4. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2002. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 74-96, March.
    5. Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-719, September.
    6. Bromley, Daniel W., 1995. "Property rights and natural resource damage assessments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 129-135, August.
    7. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder & Derek J. Gurney, 2005. "Efficiency Costs of Meeting Industry-Distributional Constraints Under Environmental Permits and Taxes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 950-970, Winter.
    8. Tversky, Amos & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Anomalies: Preference Reversals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 201-211, Spring.
    9. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    10. Colin F. Camerer & Howard Kunreuther, 1989. "Decision processes for low probability events: Policy implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 565-592.
    11. Spulber, Daniel F., 1985. "Effluent regulation and long-run optimality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 103-116, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberton C. Williams III & Hal Gordon & Dallas Burtraw & Jared C. Carbone & Richard D. Morgenstern, 2015. "The Initial Incidence of a Carbon Tax Across Income Groups," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(1), pages 195-214, March.
    2. Klenert, David & Mattauch, Linus & Combet, Emmanuel & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Hepburn, Cameron & Rafaty, Ryan & Stern, Nicholas, 2017. "Making Carbon Pricing Work," MPRA Paper 80943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:337-344 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Auction; Cap and trade; Emissions fee; Emissions tax; Allocation; Grandfathering; Climate change; Policy; JEL Classification; H23; N5; P48;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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