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The Macroeconomic Effects of a Carbon Tax to Meet the U.S. Paris Agreement Target: The Role of Firm Creation and Technology Adoption

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  • Shapiro Finkelstein, Alan
  • Metcalf, Gilbert E.

Abstract

We analyze the quantitative labor market and aggregate effects of a carbon tax in a framework with pollution externalities and equilibrium unemployment. Our model incorporates endogenous labor force participation and two margins of adjustment influenced by carbon taxes: firm creation and green production-technology adoption. A carbon-tax policy that reduces carbon emissions by 35 percent - roughly the emissions reductions that will be required under the Biden Administration's new commitment under the Paris Agreement - and transfers the tax revenue to households generates mild positive long-run effects on consumption and output; a marginal increase in the unemployment and labor force participation rates; and an expansion in the number and fraction of firms that use green technologies. In the short term, the adjustment to higher carbon taxes is accompanied by gradual gains in output and consumption and a negligible expansion in unemployment. Critically, abstracting from endogenous firm entry and green-technology adoption implies that the same policy has substantial adverse short- and long-term effects on labor income, consumption, and output. Our findings highlight the importance of these margins for a comprehensive assessment of the labor market and aggregate effects of carbon taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • Shapiro Finkelstein, Alan & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2021. "The Macroeconomic Effects of a Carbon Tax to Meet the U.S. Paris Agreement Target: The Role of Firm Creation and Technology Adoption," FEEM Working Papers 311095, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemwp:311095
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.311095
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    1. The Macroeconomic Effects of a Carbon Tax to Meet the U.S. Paris Agreement Target: The Role of Firm Creation and Technology Adoption
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2021-05-31 21:39:06

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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