Understanding Public Support for Externality-Correcting Taxes and Subsidies: A Lab Experiment
The potential of taxation to correcting environmental externalities has been long recognized among economists. Yet, this welfare-enhancing policy commonly faces strong opposition by citizens. Conversely, externality-correcting subsidies frequently enjoy high levels of public acceptance. We conduct a lab experiment to explore public support for Pigouvian taxes and subsidies. In an experimental market with a negative externality, participants vote on the introduction of Pigouvian taxes and subsidies under full or partial information concerning how the tax revenues will be spent and the subsidy paid for. Theoretically the two instruments should produce identical outcomes. We find substantially greater support for subsidies than taxes. This can partially be explained by the expectation that the subsidy will increase payoffs more than a tax, but not because it could be more effective in changing behavior. Furthermore, we find that under partial information, the preference for subsidies is even stronger.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, "undated".
"Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion,"
04-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2004.
- Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009.
"Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences,"
200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J., 2009. "Lab Experiments Are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," IZA Discussion Papers 4540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CESifo Working Paper Series 2894, CESifo Group Munich.
- Heyndels, B & Smolders, C, 1995. "Tax Complexity and Fiscal Illusion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(1-2), pages 127-141, October.
- Kallbekken, Steffen & Sælen, Håkon, 2011. "Public acceptance for environmental taxes: Self-interest, environmental and distributional concerns," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2966-2973, May.
- Kallbekken, Steffen & Kroll, Stephan & Cherry, Todd L., 2011. "Do you not like Pigou, or do you not understand him? Tax aversion and revenue recycling in the lab," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-64, July.
- Dresner, Simon & Dunne, Louise & Clinch, Peter & Beuermann, Christiane, 2006. "Social and political responses to ecological tax reform in Europe: an introduction to the special issue," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 895-904, May.
- Gemmell, Norman & Morrissey, Oliver & Pinar, Abuzer, 1999. "Fiscal illusion and the demand for government expenditures in the UK," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 687-704, November.
- Philippe Thalmann, 2004. "The Public Acceptance of Green Taxes: 2 Million Voters Express Their Opinion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 179-217, 04.
- Ballard, Charles L. & Medema, Steven G., 1993. "The marginal efficiency effects of taxes and subsidies in the presence of externalities : A computational general equilibrium approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 199-216, September.
- Alberto Gago & Xavier Labandeira & Fidel Picos & Miguel Rodríguez, 2006. "Environmental Taxes in Spain: A Missed Opportunity," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0609, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
- Norman Gemmell & Oliver Morrissey & Abuzer Pinar, 2004. "Tax perceptions and preferences over tax structure in the united kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 117-138, 02.
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- Kallbekken, Steffen & Aasen, Marianne, 2010. "The demand for earmarking: Results from a focus group study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2183-2190, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bcc:wpaper:2013-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sergio Faria)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.