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Health effects and optimal environmental taxes in welfare state countries

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Most studies on the green tax reform issue point out that environmental taxes exacerbate pre-existing tax distortions, thereby increasing the welfare costs associated with the overall tax code. As a result, the optimal environmental tax should lie below the Pigovian level (or marginal social damages). This article challenges this finding by arguing that health benefits from reduced pollution may sufficiently affect labor supply to create benefit-side tax interactions which, in turn, may be of the same magnitude as cost-side ones. Using a simple general equilibrium model that assumes the existence of a social security system, this paper shows that the optimal environmental tax rate could be greater than traditionally thought

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  • Jean-Christophe Caffet, 2005. "Health effects and optimal environmental taxes in welfare state countries," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v05049, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:v05049
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    File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00194917
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    1. Ian W.H. Parry, 2002. "A Second-Best Analysis of Environmental Subsidies," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 28, pages 555-572, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. A. Lans Bovenberg & Frederick van der Ploeg, 2002. "Environmental Policy, Public Finance and the Labour Market in a Second-Best World," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 6, pages 112-153, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
    4. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
    5. Sarah E. West & Roberton C. Williams, 2004. "Empirical Estimates for Environmental Policy Making in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 10330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W.H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Dallas Burtraw, 2002. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 27, pages 523-554, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Bovenberg, A. Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1996. "Optimal taxation, public goods and environmental policy with involuntary unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 59-83, October.
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    10. Ian W.H. Parry, 2002. "Pollution Taxes and Revenue Reycling," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 15, pages 235-248, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1994. "Environmental Taxation and the "Double Dividend:" A Reader's Guide," NBER Working Papers 4896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W.H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 2002. "Revenue-Raising versus Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Preexisting Tax Distortions," Chapters, in: Lawrence H. Goulder (ed.), Environmental Policy Making in Economies with Prior Tax Distortions, chapter 24, pages 447-470, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Williams, Roberton III, 2002. "Environmental Tax Interactions when Pollution Affects Health or Productivity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 261-270, September.
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    24. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-948, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mohajan, Haradhan, 2011. "Air pollution causes health effects and net national product of a country decreases: a theoretical framework," MPRA Paper 50858, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 May 2012.
    2. Haradhan Kumar Mohajan, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Taxes Due to Health Effect," KASBIT Business Journals (KBJ), Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 4, pages 1-19, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental tax; double dividend; employment; health; social security;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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