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The social cost of carbon and inequality: When local redistribution shapes global carbon prices

Author

Listed:
  • Ulrike Kornek

    (CAU - Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel = Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel = Université Christian-Albrechts de Kiel)

  • David Klenert

    (Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Seville)

  • Ottmar Edenhofer

    (PIK - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

Abstract

The social cost of carbon is a central metric for optimal carbon prices. Previous literature shows that inequality significantly influences the social cost of carbon, but mostly omits het-erogeneity below the national level. We present an optimal taxation model of the social cost of carbon that accounts for inequality between and within countries. We find that climate and distributional policy can generally not be separated. If only one country does not compen-sate low-income households for disproportionate damages, the social cost of carbon tends to increase globally. Optimal carbon prices remain roughly unchanged if national redistribu-tion leaves inequality between households unaffected by climate change and if the utility of households is approximately logarithmic in consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrike Kornek & David Klenert & Ottmar Edenhofer & Marc Fleurbaey, 2021. "The social cost of carbon and inequality: When local redistribution shapes global carbon prices," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) hal-03426147, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseptp:hal-03426147
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2021.102450
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    Cited by:

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    2. Moritz A. Drupp & Frikk Nesje & Robert C. Schmidt & Robert Christian Schmidt, 2022. "Pricing Carbon," CESifo Working Paper Series 9608, CESifo.
    3. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Emmerling, Johannes & Groom, Ben, 2022. "The Social Cost of Carbon with Intragenerational Inequality under Economic Uncertainty," RFF Working Paper Series 22-08, Resources for the Future.
    4. David Klenert & Franziska Funke & Linus Mattauch & Brian O’Callaghan, 2020. "Five Lessons from COVID-19 for Advancing Climate Change Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 751-778, August.
    5. Malerba, Daniele & Gaentzsch, Anja & Ward, Hauke, 2021. "Mitigating poverty: The patterns of multiple carbon tax and recycling regimes for Peru," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    6. Maximilian Kellner, 2023. "Strategic effects of stock pollution: the positive theory of fiscal deficits revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 194(1), pages 157-179, January.
    7. Ernst, Anne & Hinterlang, Natascha & Mahle, Alexander & Stähler, Nikolai, 2022. "Carbon pricing, border adjustment and climate clubs: An assessment with EMuSe," Discussion Papers 25/2022, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    8. Edenhofer, Ottmar & Flachsland, Christian & Kalkuhl, Matthias & Knopf, Brigitte & Pahle, Michael, 2019. "Optionen für eine CO2-Preisreform," Working Papers 04/2019, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    9. Moritz A. Drupp & Ulrike Kornek & Jasper N. Meya & Lutz Sager, 2021. "Inequality and the Environment: The Economics of a Two-Headed Hydra," CESifo Working Paper Series 9447, CESifo.
    10. Carlos Hervés-Beloso & Francisco Martínez-Concha, 2023. "Coasian rights in a cap-and-trade mechanism with damage compensations," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 425-441, December.
    11. Cao, Xin & Liu, Chang & Wu, Mingxuan & Li, Zhi & Wang, Yihan & Wen, Zongguo, 2023. "Heterogeneity and connection in the spatial–temporal evolution trend of China’s energy consumption at provincial level," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 336(C).
    12. Ernst, Anne & Hinterlang, Natascha & Mahle, Alexander & Stähler, Nikolai, 2023. "Carbon pricing, border adjustment and climate clubs: Options for international cooperation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    13. Venmans, Frank & Groom, Ben, 2021. "Social discounting, inequality aversion, and the environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; Inequality; Climate change; Social cost of carbon; Carbon tax;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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