IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/gue/guelph/2016-09.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Global Energy Subsidies: An Analytical Taxonomy

Author

Listed:
  • Ross McKitrick

    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph)

Abstract

Governments around the world have pledged to eliminate or sharply reduce subsidies to energy firms in order to increase economic efficiency and reduce environmental externalities. Yet definitions of subsidies vary widely and, as a result, estimates of their global magnitude vary by orders of magnitude. I review why energy subsidies are so difficult to define and measure. I show why some non-standard measures are very poor proxies for subsidy costs and in fact may vary inversely with them. In particular, recent attempts to treat unpriced externalities as subsidies yield especially misleading results. In general, energy subsidies as conventionally understood do exist but only comprise a small portion of some very large recently-reported estimates, the bulk of which are indirect measures that may have little connection with actual costs to governments or allocational inefficiencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross McKitrick, 2016. "Global Energy Subsidies: An Analytical Taxonomy," Working Papers 1609, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:gue:guelph:2016-09
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.uoguelph.ca/economics/repec/workingpapers/2016/2016-09.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Li, Aijun & Du, Nan & Wei, Qian, 2014. "The cross-country implications of alternative climate policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 155-163.
    2. Mr. David Coady & Ian W.H. Parry & Louis Sears & Baoping Shang, 2015. "How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?," IMF Working Papers 2015/105, International Monetary Fund.
    3. James J. Opaluch & Thomas A. Grigalunas, 1984. "Controlling Stochastic Pollution Events through Liability Rules: Some Evidence from OCS Leasing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 142-151, Spring.
    4. Ian W.H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2002. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 25, pages 471-503, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Lin, Boqiang & Li, Aijun, 2012. "Impacts of removing fossil fuel subsidies on China: How large and how to mitigate?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 741-749.
    6. KEVIN DAYARATNA & ROSS McKITRICK & DAVID KREUTZER, 2017. "Empirically Constrained Climate Sensitivity And The Social Cost Of Carbon," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 8(02), pages 1-12, May.
    7. Kojima,Masami & Koplow,Doug, 2015. "Fossil fuel subsidies : approaches and valuation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7220, The World Bank.
    8. Robert J. Kalter & Thomas H. Stevens & Oren A. Bloom, 1975. "The Economics of Outer Continental Shelf Leasing," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 57(2), pages 251-258.
    9. Kenneth J. McKenzie & Jack M. Mintz, 2011. "The Tricky Art of Measuring Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Critique of Existing Studies," SPP Research Papers, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, vol. 4(14), September.
    10. Radoslaw (Radek) Stefanski, 2016. "Into the Mire: A Closer Look at Fossil Fuel Subsides," SPP Research Papers, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, vol. 9(10), March.
    11. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249.
    12. Li, Aijun & Lin, Boqiang, 2013. "Comparing climate policies to reduce carbon emissions in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 667-674.
    13. Nwachukwu, Maxwell Umunna & Chike, Harold, 2011. "Fuel subsidy in Nigeria: Fact or fallacy," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 2796-2801.
    14. Richard S. J. Tol, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 29-51, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hosan, Shahadat & Rahman, Md Matiar & Karmaker, Shamal Chandra & Saha, Bidyut Baran, 2023. "Energy subsidies and energy technology innovation: Policies for polygeneration systems diffusion," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 267(C).
    2. Wu, Shu, 2020. "The evolution of rural energy policies in China: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    3. Cailou Jiang & Ying Zhang & Maoliang Bu & Weishu Liu, 2018. "The Effectiveness of Government Subsidies on Manufacturing Innovation: Evidence from the New Energy Vehicle Industry in China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(6), pages 1-11, May.
    4. Timilsina, Govinda R. & Pargal, Sheoli, 2020. "Economics of energy subsidy reforms in Bangladesh," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).
    5. Boudekhdekh, Karim, 2022. "A comparative analysis of energy subsidy in the MENA region," MPRA Paper 115275, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Sumin Hu & Shulin Liu & Die Li & Yuxuan Lin, 2019. "How Does Regional Innovation Capacity Affect the Green Growth Performance? Empirical Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(18), pages 1-21, September.
    7. Natalini, Davide & Bravo, Giangiacomo & Newman, Edward, 2020. "Fuel riots: definition, evidence and policy implications for a new type of energy-related conflict," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    8. Terneus Páez, Carlos Francisco & Viteri Salazar, Oswaldo, 2020. "Analysis of agro-food transport in Ecuador faced with a possible reduction in the subsidy of diesel," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    9. Boyce, James K., 2018. "Carbon Pricing: Effectiveness and Equity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 52-61.
    10. Zhang, Lei & Qin, Quande & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2019. "China's distributed energy policies: Evolution, instruments and recommendation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 55-64.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nils Ohlendorf & Michael Jakob & Jan Christoph Minx & Carsten Schröder & Jan Christoph Steckel, 2018. "Distributional Impacts of Climate Mitigation Policies - a Meta-Analysis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1776, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Li, Aijun & Du, Nan & Wei, Qian, 2014. "The cross-country implications of alternative climate policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 155-163.
    3. Dienes, Christian, 2015. "Actions and intentions to pay for climate change mitigation: Environmental concern and the role of economic factors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 122-129.
    4. Lori Bennear & Robert Stavins, 2007. "Second-best theory and the use of multiple policy instruments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 111-129, May.
    5. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
    6. Nils Ohlendorf & Michael Jakob & Jan Christoph Minx & Carsten Schröder & Jan Christoph Steckel, 2021. "Distributional Impacts of Carbon Pricing: A Meta-Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 78(1), pages 1-42, January.
    7. Fullerton, Don & Ta, Chi L., 2019. "Environmental policy on the back of an envelope: A Cobb-Douglas model is not just a teaching tool," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(S1).
    8. Thijs Van de Graaf & Harro van Asselt, 2017. "Introduction to the special issue: energy subsidies at the intersection of climate, energy, and trade governance," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 313-326, June.
    9. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry, 2008. "Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 152-174, Summer.
    10. Philippe Quirion, 2004. "Prices versus Quantities in a Second-Best Setting," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(3), pages 337-360, November.
    11. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2017. "Reviewing, Reforming, and Rethinking Global Energy Subsidies: Towards a Political Economy Research Agenda," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 150-163.
    12. Richard S.J. Tol, 2021. "Estimates of the social cost of carbon have not changed over time," Working Paper Series 0821, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    13. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
    14. Xu, Shang & Zhang, Jun, 2023. "The welfare impacts of removing coal subsidies in rural China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    15. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo.
    16. Pezzey, John C.V., 2006. "Neither the rock nor the hard place: using payment thresholds to balance the politics and the economics of emissions control," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 139892, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    17. Rong Zhou & Kathleen Segerson, 2012. "Are Green Taxes a Good Way to Help Solve State Budget Deficits?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 4(6), pages 1-25, June.
    18. Jiang, Tingsong, 2001. "Earmarking of pollution charges and the sub-optimality of the Pigouvian tax," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(4), pages 1-18.
    19. David Anthoff & Robert Hahn, 2010. "Government failure and market failure: on the inefficiency of environmental and energy policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 197-224, Summer.
    20. Pang, Yu, 2019. "Taxing pollution and profits: A bargaining approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 278-288.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subsidies; energy; oil; gas; externalities; fiscal policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gue:guelph:2016-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/degueca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Stephen Kosempel (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/degueca.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.