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Social Equity Concerns and Differentiated Environmental Taxes

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Abrell

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Sebastian Rausch

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Giacomo A. Schwarz

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

This paper examines pollution tax differentiation across industries in light of social equity concerns using theoretical and numerical general equilibrium analyses in an optimal tax framework. We characterize the drivers for non-uniform optimal taxes emanating from the interaction of household heterogeneity with social preferences. Quantitatively assessing the case of price-based CO2 emissions control in the U.S. economy, we find that optimal carbon taxes differ largely across industries, even when social inequality aversion is low. Our results are robust with respect to the stringency of the environmental target, non-optimal redistribution schemes, and parametric uncertainty in firms’ and households’ equilibrium tax responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Abrell & Sebastian Rausch & Giacomo A. Schwarz, 2016. "Social Equity Concerns and Differentiated Environmental Taxes," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/262, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:16-262
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    File URL: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/mtec/cer-eth/cer-eth-dam/documents/working-papers/WP-16-262.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angel Aguiar & Badri Narayanan & Robert McDougall, 2016. "An Overview of the GTAP 9 Data Base," Journal of Global Economic Analysis, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, vol. 1(1), pages 181-208, June.
    2. Rausch Sebastian & Metcalf Gilbert E. & Reilly John M & Paltsev Sergey, 2010. "Distributional Implications of Alternative U.S. Greenhouse Gas Control Measures," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-46, July.
    3. Boeters, Stefan, 2014. "Optimally differentiated carbon prices for unilateral climate policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 304-312.
    4. Böhringer, Christoph & Lange, Andreas & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2014. "Optimal emission pricing in the presence of international spillovers: Decomposing leakage and terms-of-trade motives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 101-111.
    5. Antonio M. Bento & Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased US Gasoline Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 667-699, June.
    6. Roberton C. Williams III & Hal Gordon & Dallas Burtraw & Jared C. Carbone & Richard D. Morgenstern, 2015. "The Initial Incidence of a Carbon Tax Across Income Groups," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(1), pages 195-214, March.
    7. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Ladoux, Norbert, 1998. "Externalities and optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 343-364, December.
    8. Rausch, Sebastian & Metcalf, Gilbert E. & Reilly, John M., 2011. "Distributional impacts of carbon pricing: A general equilibrium approach with micro-data for households," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 20-33.
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    10. Rausch, Sebastian & Schwarz, Giacomo A., 2016. "Household heterogeneity, aggregation, and the distributional impacts of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 43-57.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Differentiated environmental taxes; Carbon pricing; Industries; Heterogeneous households; Social inequality; Optimal taxation; General equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models

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