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Horizontal Equity Effects in Energy Regulation

In: Energy Policy Tradeoffs between Economic Efficiency and Distributional Equity

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  • Carolyn Fischer
  • William A. Pizer

Abstract

Choices in energy regulation, particularly whether and how to price externalities, can have widely different distributional consequences both across and within income groups. Traditional welfare theory focuses largely on effects across income groups; such "vertical equity" concerns can typically be addressed by a progressive redistribution of emissions revenues. In this paper, we review alternative economic perspectives that give rise to equity concerns within income groups, or "horizontal equity," and suggest operational measures. We then apply those measures to a stylized model of pollution regulation in the electricity sector. In addition, we look for ways to present the information behind those measures directly to stakeholders. We show how horizontal equity concerns might overshadow efficiency concerns in this context.
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Suggested Citation

  • Carolyn Fischer & William A. Pizer, 2016. "Horizontal Equity Effects in Energy Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Energy Policy Tradeoffs between Economic Efficiency and Distributional Equity, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:14219
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    Cited by:

    1. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Hafstead, Marc A.C. & Kim, GyuRim & Long, Xianling, 2019. "Impacts of a carbon tax across US household income groups: What are the equity-efficiency trade-offs?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 44-64.
    2. Janos Varga & Werner Roeger & Jan in ’t Veld, 2021. "E-QUEST – A Multi-Region Sectoral Dynamic General Equilibrium Model with Energy Model Description and Applications to Reach the EU Climate Targets," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 146, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    3. Ottmar Edenhofer & Max Franks & Matthias Kalkuhl, 2021. "Pigou in the 21st Century: a tribute on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Economics of Welfare," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(5), pages 1090-1121, October.
    4. Martin C. Hänsel & Max Franks & Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2021. "Optimal Carbon Taxation and Horizontal Equity: A Welfare-Theoretic Approach with Application to German Household Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 8931, CESifo.
    5. Edenhofer, Ottmar & Flachsland, Christian & Kalkuhl, Matthias & Knopf, Brigitte & Pahle, Michael, 2019. "Optionen für eine CO2-Preisreform," Working Papers 04/2019, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    6. Varga, Janos & Roeger, Werner & in ’t Veld, Jan, 2022. "E-QUEST: A multisector dynamic general equilibrium model with energy and a model-based assessment to reach the EU climate targets," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    7. Umed Temursho & Matthias Weitzel & Toon Vandyck, 2020. "Distributional impacts of reaching ambitious near-term climate targets across households with heterogeneous consumption patterns: A quantitative macro-micro assessment for the 2030 Climate Target Plan," JRC Research Reports JRC121765, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Pitkänen, Atte & von Wright, Tuuli & Kaseva, Janne & Kahiluoto, Helena, 2022. "Distributional fairness of personal carbon trading," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 201(C).
    9. World Bank, 2020. "Global Economic Prospects, June 2020," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 33748, November.
    10. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Rezai, Armon, 2020. "The risk of policy tipping and stranded carbon assets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    11. Mattauch, Linus & Zhao, Jiaxin, 2021. "When standards have better distributional consequences than carbon taxes," INET Oxford Working Papers 2020-25, Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
    12. Frondel, Manuel & Schubert, Stefanie A., 2021. "Carbon pricing in Germany's road transport and housing sector: Options for reimbursing carbon revenues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    13. Sommer, Stephan & Mattauch, Linus & Pahle, Michael, 2022. "Supporting carbon taxes: The role of fairness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    14. Stefan Nabernegg, 2021. "Emission distribution and incidence of national mitigation policies among households in Austria," Graz Economics Papers 2021-12, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
    15. Andor, Mark A. & Lange, Andreas & Sommer, Stephan, 2022. "Fairness and the support of redistributive environmental policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    16. Spurlock, C. Anna & Fujita, K. Sydny, 2022. "Equity implications of market structure and appliance energy efficiency regulation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    17. Ravigné, Emilien & Ghersi, Frédéric & Nadaud, Franck, 2022. "Is a fair energy transition possible? Evidence from the French low-carbon strategy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    18. Jan C. Steckel & Ira I. Dorband & Lorenzo Montrone & Hauke Ward & Leonard Missbach & Fabian Hafner & Michael Jakob & Sebastian Renner, 2021. "Distributional impacts of carbon pricing in developing Asia," Nature Sustainability, Nature, vol. 4(11), pages 1005-1014, November.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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