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The signaling effect of tax policy


  • F. Barigozzi
  • B. Villeneuve


The paper focuses on the signaling value of a tax when agents are less informed on the effect of their consumption than the policy-maker. When he chooses the tax, the policy-maker optimizes both the incentive effect and the effect on beliefs. We show that optimal taxes under symmetric information are not implementable under asymmetric information. The tax distortion required for credibility depends on the marginal cost of public funds and brings to undertaxation.

Suggested Citation

  • F. Barigozzi & B. Villeneuve, 2004. "The signaling effect of tax policy," Working Papers 500, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:500

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-948, July.
    6. F. Barigozzi & B. Villeneuve, 2001. "Influencing the Misinformed Misbehaver: An Analysis of Public Policy towards Uncertainty and External Effects," Working Papers 404, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Hanson, Robin, 2003. "Warning labels as cheap-talk: why regulators ban drugs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2013-2029, September.
    8. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. D'Haultfoeuille, Xavier & Durrmeyer, Isis & Février, Philippe, 2013. "The Effect of Public Policies on Consumers' Preferences: Lessons from the French Automobile Market," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 422, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    2. D’Haultfœuille, Xavier & Durrmeyer, Isis & Février, Philippe, 2016. "Disentangling sources of vehicle emissions reduction in France: 2003–2008," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 186-229.
    3. D’Antoni, Massimo & Galbiati, Roberto, 2007. "A signaling theory of nonmonetary sanctions," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 204-218.
    4. Manel Antelo, 2005. "Monopoly, asymmetric information, and optimal environmental taxation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2005/08, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    5. Brännlund, Runar & Lundgren, Tommy & Marklund, Per-Olov, 2014. "Carbon intensity in production and the effects of climate policy—Evidence from Swedish industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 844-857.
    6. Ghalwash, Tarek, 2007. "Energy taxes as a signaling device: An empirical analysis of consumer preferences," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 29-38, January.
    7. Ana Espinola-Arredondo & Felix Munoz-Garcia, 2011. "Environmental Protection Agencies: Measuring the Welfare Benefits from Regulation under Different Information Contexts," Working Papers 2011-11, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    8. Antelo, Manel & Loureiro, Maria L., 2009. "Asymmetric information, signaling and environmental taxes in oligopoly," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1430-1440, March.
    9. Espínola-Arredondo, Ana & Muñoz-García, Félix, 2013. "When does environmental regulation facilitate entry-deterring practices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 133-152.
    10. Andrey Zaikin & Ana Espinola-Arredondo, 2012. "The Carrot or the Stick: Water Allocation Strategies for Uzbekistan," Working Papers 2012-2, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    11. Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak & Raimund Bleischwitz & Martin Distelkamp & Mark Meyer, 2012. "Taxing construction minerals: a contribution to a resource-efficient Europe," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 25(1), pages 29-43, July.
    12. Manel Antelo, 2005. "Double informational asymmetry, signaling, and environmental taxes," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2005/25, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    13. Facundo Albornoz & Joan-Maria Esteban & Paolo Vanin, 2009. "Government Information Transparency," Working Papers 392, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    14. Ghalwash, Tarek, 2004. "Energy Taxes as a Signaling Device: An Empirical Analysis of Consumer Preferences," Umeå Economic Studies 646, Umeå University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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