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Assessing Vulnerability of Selected Sectors Under Environmental Tax Reform: The Issue of Pricing Power

  • John FitzGerald

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

  • Susan Scott

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

  • Mary Keeney

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

This paper investigates pricing power, an important criterion for identifying sectors that would be vulnerable under environmental tax reform. Environmental tax reform, defined here as introduction of carbon taxes alongside reductions in labour taxes, could bear heavily on sectors that are energy intensive and highly traded, in particular if their options for adapting technology are limited. However, a sector with pricing power has less to fear as, rather than having to conform to the world price, it can set its price to accommodate a tax mark-up. To assess pricing power, a model of long-run price setting is specified and tested. Significant and plausible results emerged from this exercise, indicating that pricing power as a major aspect of a sector's relative vulnerability can be assessed. Of the six sectors analysed, the Basic metals sector had least pricing power and the Non-metallic minerals sector had most. As proxies for the world price, the German price tended to matter more than the US price. Thus, competitiveness fears are reduced not just where there is good potential for adapting technology but also if application of environmental tax reform is EU-wide.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP222.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp222
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  1. Fagerberg, Jan, 1996. "Technology and Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 39-51, Autumn.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 339-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Schroeter, John R., 1988. "Estimating the Degree of Market Power in the Beef Packing Industry," Staff General Research Papers 11114, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-02, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  5. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Baranzini, Andrea, 2004. "What do we know about carbon taxes? An inquiry into their impacts on competitiveness and distribution of income," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 507-518, March.
  6. Jan Fagerberg, 1988. "International Competitiveness," Working Papers Archives 1988001, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  7. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  9. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  10. Callan, Tim & FitzGerald, John, 1989. "Price Determination in Ireland: Effects of Changes in Exchange Rates and Exchange Rate Regimes," Papers ME179, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  11. Sven W. Arndt & J. David Richardson, 1987. "Real-Financial Linkages Among Open Economies," NBER Working Papers 2230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Granger, Clive W J, 1986. "Developments in the Study of Cointegrated Economic Variables," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 48(3), pages 213-28, August.
  13. Naug, Bjorn & Nymoen, Ragnar, 1996. " Pricing to Market in a Small Open Economy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(3), pages 329-50.
  14. Bergin, Paul R. & Feenstra, Robert C., 2000. "Staggered price setting, translog preferences, and endogenous persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 657-680, June.
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