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The Two-Part Instrument in a Second-Best World

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  • Don Fullerton
  • Ann Wolverton

Abstract

The standard theory that the first-best tax on pollution is equal to marginal environmental damages has been extended in two directions. First, many polluting activities are difficult to tax because they are not market transactions, and so recent papers have shown that the same effects can be achieved by use of a two-part instrument a tax on one market transaction such as output or income and a subsidy to a different market transaction that is a clean alternative to pollution. It is a generalization of a deposit-refund system. Second, a different literature concerns the second-best optimal pollution tax in the presence of other tax distortions. Here, we combine the two extensions by looking at the second-best two-part instrument (2PI). When government needs revenue, is the deposit larger and the rebate smaller? We find explicit solutions for each tax and subsidy in a general equilibrium model with other tax distortions, and we compare these to the rates in a first-best model. The tax-subsidy combination is explained in terms of a tax effect, an environmental effect, and a revenue effect. The model allows for flexible interpretation, to show various applications of the 2PI. We also discuss important caveats, cases where the 2PI may not be appropriate.

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  • Don Fullerton & Ann Wolverton, 2003. "The Two-Part Instrument in a Second-Best World," NBER Working Papers 10140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10140
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    Cited by:

    1. Renan-Ulrich Goetz & Yolanda Martínez, 2013. "Nonpoint source pollution and two-part instruments," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 15(3), pages 237-258, July.
    2. Fabio Antoniou & Roland Strausz, 2014. "The Effectiveness of Taxation and Feed-in Tariffs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4788, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Hilary Sigman & Sarah Stafford, 2011. "Management of Hazardous Waste and Contaminated Land," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 255-275, October.
    4. Katri Kosonen & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2009. "The role of fiscal instruments in environmental policy," Taxation Papers 19, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    5. Navajas, Fernando H. & Panadeiros, Monica & Natale, Oscar, 2011. "Environmentally Related Energy Taxes in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay," MPRA Paper 37829, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alfred Endres & Tim Friehe, 2012. "Market Power in the Eco-industry: Polluters’ Incentives under Environmental Liability Law," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(1), pages 121-138.
    7. Christoph Heinzel & Thomas Winkler, 2011. "Economic functioning and politically pragmatic justification of tradable green certificates in Poland," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(2), pages 157-175, June.
    8. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Arwin Pang & Daigee Shaw, 2011. "Optimal emission tax with pre-existing distortions," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(2), pages 79-88, June.
    10. Ann Wolverton & Don Fullerton, 2000. "Two Generalizations of a Deposit-Refund Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 238-242, May.
    11. Kurtyka, Oliwia & Mahenc, Philippe, 2011. "The switching effect of environmental taxation within Bertrand differentiated duopoly," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 267-277, September.
    12. Mazumder, Diya B., 2014. "Biofuel subsidies versus the gas tax: The carrot or the stick?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 361-374.
    13. Ino, Hiroaki, 2011. "Optimal environmental policy for waste disposal and recycling when firms are not compliant," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 290-308, September.
    14. Eichner, Thomas & Pethig, Rüdiger, 2009. "Pricing the ecosystem and taxing ecosystem services: A general equilibrium approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1589-1616, July.
    15. Herman R.J. Vollebergh, 2006. "Differential Impact of Environmental Policy Instruments on Technological Change: A Review of the Empirical Literature," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-042/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    16. Hiroaki Ino & Norimichi Matsueda, 2014. "The Curse of Low-valued Recycling," Discussion Paper Series 123, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2018.
    17. Thomas Eichner & Rüdiger Pethig, 2011. "Unilateral reduction of medium-term carbon emissions via taxing emissions and consumption," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 152-11, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    18. Daan P. van Soest & Herman R.J. Vollebergh, 2011. "Energy Investment Behaviour: Firm Heterogeneity and Subsidy Design," Chapters,in: Improving Energy Efficiency through Technology, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation

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