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Distributional Effects of Carbon Pricing by Transport Fuel Taxation

Author

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  • Leif Jacobs

    (Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology)

  • Lara Quack

    (Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology)

  • Mario Mechtel

    (Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics)

Abstract

We introduce a new microsimulation model built on household transport data to study the distributional effects of carbon-based fuel taxation of private road transport in Germany. Our data includes annual mileage at the car-level, the distinction between fuel types, as well as car-specific fuel consumption, allowing for a very detailed analysis. The model allows focusing on different types of households as well as identifying effect heterogeneity across the income distribution. We compare the recent fuel tax scheme with three policy reform scenarios to empirically test several hypotheses regarding distributional effects of carbon pricing. We find that the legal status quo of the fuel tax has overall regressive effects, with the tax on petrol acting regressive and the tax on diesel acting progressive. A transformation of the current tax into a revenue-neutral carbon-harmonised fuel tax yields a progressive distributional effect, while an introduction of a new carbon tax on transport fuels is neither learly regressive nor progressive. Combining both tax schemes also has non-regressive effects. Our results suggest that policy makers face various options for pricing road transport greenhouse gas emissions without causing an overall disproportionate tax burden on low-income households.

Suggested Citation

  • Leif Jacobs & Lara Quack & Mario Mechtel, 2021. "Distributional Effects of Carbon Pricing by Transport Fuel Taxation," Working Paper Series in Economics 405, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:405
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    carbon pricing; fuel tax; distributional effects; road transport; microsimulation; exante impact assessment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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