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The Incidence of a U.S. Carbon Tax: A Lifetime and Regional Analysis

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  • Kevin A. Hassett
  • Aparna Mathur
  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

This paper measures the direct and indirect incidence of a carbon tax using current income and two measures of lifetime income to rank households. Our results suggest that carbon taxes are more regressive when annual income is used as a measure of economic welfare than when proxies for lifetime income are used. Further, the direct component of the tax, in any given year, is significantly more regressive than the indirect component. In fact, for 1987, the indirect component of the tax is mildly progressive. We observe a modest shift over time with the direct component of carbon taxes becoming less regressive and the indirect component becoming more regressive. These effects mostly offset each other and the distribution of the total tax burden has not changed much over time. In addition we find that regional variation has fluctuated over the years of our anlaysis. By 2003 there is little systematic variation in carbon tax burdens across regions of the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2007. "The Incidence of a U.S. Carbon Tax: A Lifetime and Regional Analysis," NBER Working Papers 13554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13554
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Energy Intensity and Its Determinants at the State Level," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-26.
    2. S. Paltsev & J. Reilly & H. Jacoby & A. Gurgel & G. Metcalf & A. Sokolov & J. Holak, 2007. "Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals," Working Papers 0705, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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