Steinkohlebergbau: Subventionierung um jeden Preis?
In: List Forum Band 33
German hard coal has been subsidized for almost five decades. Despite the decreasing labour market significance of hard coal production in Germany, the magnitude of subsidies had increased until the middle of the last decade. In 1996, these subsidies peaked at around 6.7 billion Euros. Only since then, hard coal subsidies have been shrinking - reaching a level of about 2.7 billion Euros in 2005. In nominal terms, the accumulated amount of subsidies has now reached almost 130 billion Euros. Given that it is not well-accepted that public households are in serious imbalance, the continued subsidization of hard coal is more than surprising. Most importantly, these subsidies constitute a substantial opportunity cost, leading funds away from alternative, more beneficial public investments. Alternatively, the accelerated reduction of these subsidies may dampen the deficit of public households. This article investigates the typical, frequently reiterated arguments in favour of hard coal subsidization. From an economic perspective that aims at improving the welfare of the society, none of these arguments is convincing. We therefore recommend the abolition of this most significant single subsidy in Germany. (Original text only available in german language)
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