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Should the carbon price be the same in all countries?

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Abstract

International differences in fuel taxation are huge, and may be justified by different local negative externalities that taxes must correct, as well as by different preferences for public spending. In this context, should a worldwide unique carbon tax be added to these local taxes to correct the global warming externality? We address this question in a second best framework à la Ramsey, where public goods have to be financed through distortionary taxation and the cost of public funds has to be weighted against the utility of public goods. We show that when lump-sum transfers between countries are allowed for, the second best tax on the polluting good may be decomposed into three parts: one, country specific, dealing with the local negative externality, a second one, country specific, dealing with the cost of public funds, and a third one, global, dealing with the global externality and which can be interpreted as the carbon price. Our main contribution is to show that the uniqueness of the carbon price should still hold in this second best framework. Nevertheless, if lump-sum transfers between governments are impossible to implement, international differentiation of the carbon price is the only way to take care of equity concerns

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine d'Autume & Katheline Schubert & Cees Withagen, 2011. "Should the carbon price be the same in all countries?," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11076, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:11076
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    1. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey, 1994. "Who should abate carbon emissions? : An international viewpoint," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 443-449, April.
    2. Hikaru Ogawa & David E. Wildasin, 2009. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1206-1217, September.
    3. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    4. Hikaru Ogawa & David E. Wildasin, 2007. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," CESifo Working Paper Series 2142, CESifo.
    5. Shiell, Leslie, 2003. "Equity and efficiency in international markets for pollution permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 38-51, July.
    6. Gauthier, Stéphane & Laroque, Guy, 2009. "Separability and public finance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1168-1174, December.
    7. Kristen A. Sheeran, 2006. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? A Note," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 35(2), pages 89-98, October.
    8. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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    1. Differentiated carbon taxation
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-13 22:24:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Lint Barrage, 2020. "Optimal Dynamic Carbon Taxes in a Climate–Economy Model with Distortionary Fiscal Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-39.
    2. Brock, W. & Xepapadeas, A., 2017. "Climate change policy under polar amplification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 93-112.
    3. Hillebrand, Elmar & Hillebrand, Marten, 2019. "Optimal climate policies in a dynamic multi-country equilibrium model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 200-239.
    4. Gerard Meijden & Frederick Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 2017. "Frontiers of Climate Change Economics," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 1-14, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon price; second best; Pigovian taxation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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