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Environmental Policy, Public Finance and the Labour Market in a Second-best World

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  • Bovenberg, A Lans
  • van der Ploeg, Frederick

Abstract

Environmental and tax policies and the optimal provision of clean and dirty public goods are analysed within the context of a second-best framework of optimal taxation. Households consume both clean and dirty commodities. Degradation of the natural environment occurs due to the consumption of dirty private and public goods, but can be offset when the government engages in abatement activities. The `double dividend' hypothesis, i.e. raise the dirt tax and reduce the labour tax in order to enhance both environmental quality and employment, fails. Increased environmental concern implies a higher dirt tax, a lower tax on labour, less employment and economic activity and a cleaner environment. If the elasticity of substitution between private consumption commodities and leisure is large, and that between clean and dirty goods is small, public consumption expands while private consumption contracts. Otherwise, public consumption falls.

Suggested Citation

  • Bovenberg, A Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1992. "Environmental Policy, Public Finance and the Labour Market in a Second-best World," CEPR Discussion Papers 745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:745
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. A. B. Atkinson & N. H. Stern, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 119-128.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dirt Tax; Dirty Goods; Double Dividend; Environmental Externalities; Excess Burden; Labour Tax; Optimal Taxation; Public Goods;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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