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Green Tax Reform and Competitiveness

  • Koskela, Erkki
  • Schöb, Ronnie
  • Sinn, Hans-Werner

This paper develops a model of a small open economy that produces an export good with domestic labour and imported energy and is stuck in an unemployment situation resulting from an excessive fixed net-of-tax wage rate. We study a revenue-neutral green tax reform that substitutes energy for wage taxes. A moderate green tax reform will boost employment, improve welfare and increase the economy's competitiveness. The driving force behind these results is the technological substitution process that a green tax reform will bring about by inducing the producers to substitute labour for energy as factors of production. The resulting reduction in unemployment is welfare increasing since energy, which the country has to buy at its true national opportunity cost, is replaced with labour, whose price is above its social opportunity cost. As long as the labour tax rate exceeds the resource tax rate, a revenue-neutral green-tax reform will reduce the domestic firms' unit cost of production and hence increase international competitiveness and output of the economy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2089.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2089
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  1. Bovenberg, A.L. & de Mooij, R.A., 1994. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation," Other publications TiSEM 4b32deaa-ec2f-4de7-b59b-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
  4. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-53, March.
  5. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998. "Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 379-396, July.
  6. Wolfram F. Richter & Kerstin Schneider, 2001. "Taxing Mobile Capital with Labor Market Imperfections," CESifo Working Paper Series 477, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  8. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Alleviating unemployment:: The case for green tax reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1723-1746, October.
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