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Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even if They Do not Take Climate Change into Account

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  • Franks, Max
  • Edenhofer, Ottmar
  • Lessmann, Kai

Abstract

Fiscal considerations may shift governmental priorities away from environmental concerns: Finance ministers face strong demand for public expenditures such as infrastructure investments but they are constrained by international tax competition. We develop a multi-region model of tax competition and resource extraction to assess the fiscal incentive of imposing a tax on carbon rather than on capital. We explicitly model international capital and resource markets, as well as intertemporal capital accumulation and resource extraction. While fossil resources give rise to scarcity rents, capital does not. With carbon taxes the rents can be captured and invested in infrastructure, which leads to higher welfare than under capital taxation. This result holds even without modeling environmental damages. It is robust under a variation of the behavioral assumptions of resource importers to coordinate their actions, and a resource exporter's ability to counteract carbon policies. Further, no green paradox occurs - instead, the carbon tax constitutes a viable green policy, since it postpones extraction and reduces cumulative emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Franks, Max & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Lessmann, Kai, 2015. "Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even if They Do not Take Climate Change into Account," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 202761, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemcl:202761
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.202761
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregor Schwerhoff & Ottmar Edenhofer & Marc Fleurbaey, 2020. "Taxation Of Economic Rents," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 398-423, April.
    2. Habla, Wolfgang, 2016. "The Green Paradox and Interjurisdictional Competition across Space and Time," Working Papers in Economics 668, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Siegmeier, Jan & Mattauch, Linus & Franks, Max & Klenert, David & Schultes, Anselm & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2015. "A Public Finance Perspective on Climate Policy: Six Interactions That May Enhance Welfare," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 202119, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    4. Franks, Max & Lessmann, Kai, 2019. "Tax competition with asymmetric endowments in fossil resources," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203560, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Adrien Vogt‐Schilb & Stephane Hallegatte, 2017. "Climate policies and nationally determined contributions: reconciling the needed ambition with the political economy," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(6), November.
    6. Maximilian Kellner & Marco Runkel, 2021. "Climate Policy and Optimal Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 8865, CESifo.
    7. Emmanuel Combet, 2016. "Energy Tax Reform in Time of Crisis - The Case of Energy-Dependent and Open Economies," Working Papers 2016.06, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    8. Lin, Boqiang & Jia, Zhijie, 2018. "The energy, environmental and economic impacts of carbon tax rate and taxation industry: A CGE based study in China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 558-568.
    9. Karl Zimmermann, 2019. "Public Infrastructure Provision in the Presence of Terms-of-Trade Effects and Tax Competition," EconStor Preprints 193458, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    10. Ritter, Hendrik & Runkel, Marco & Zimmermann, Karl, 2019. "Environmental Effects of Capital Income Taxation - A New Double Dividend?," EconStor Preprints 195172, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    11. Bak, Céline & Bhattacharya, Amar & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Knopf, Brigitte, 2017. "Towards a comprehensive approach to climate policy, sustainable infrastructure, and finance," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 11, pages 1-13.
    12. Runkel, Marco & Kellner, Maximilian, 2018. "Climate Policy and Optimal Public Debt," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181639, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Lint Barrage, 2020. "Optimal Dynamic Carbon Taxes in a Climate–Economy Model with Distortionary Fiscal Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-39.
    14. Habla, Wolfgang, 2018. "Climate policy under factor mobility: A (differentiated) case for capital taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 100-124.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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