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Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package

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

Abstract

This paper provides a simple analytic approach for measuring the burden of carbon pricing that does not require sophisticated and numerically intensive economic models but which is not limited to restrictive assumptions of forward shifting of carbon prices. We also show how to adjust for the capital income bias contained in the Consumer Expenditure Survey, a bias towards regressivity in carbon pricing due to underreporting of capital income in higher income deciles in the Survey. Many distributional analyses of carbon pricing focus on the uses-side incidence of carbon pricing. This is the differential burden resulting from heterogeneity in consumption across households. Once one allows for sources-side incidence (i.e. differential impacts of changes in real factor prices), carbon policies look more progressive. Perhaps more important than the findings from any one scenario, our results on the progressivity of the leading cap and trade proposals are robust to the assumptions made on the relative importance of uses and sources side heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf & Aparna Mathur & Kevin A. Hassett, 2010. "Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package," NBER Working Papers 16101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16101
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rausch Sebastian & Metcalf Gilbert E. & Reilly John M & Paltsev Sergey, 2010. "Distributional Implications of Alternative U.S. Greenhouse Gas Control Measures," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-46, July.
    2. Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "The Incidence of a U.S. Carbon Tax: A Lifetime and Regional Analysis," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 155-178.
    3. Fullerton Don & Heutel Garth, 2011. "Analytical General Equilibrium Effects of Energy Policy on Output and Factor Prices," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-26, January.
    4. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Are emissions permits regressive?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 364-387, March.
    5. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
    6. Nicholas Bull & Kevin A. Hassett & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1994. "Who Pays Broad-Based Energy Taxes? Computing Lifetime and Regional Incidence," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 145-164.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    2. Bruno Lanz and Sebastian Rausch, 2016. "Emissions Trading in the Presence of Price-Regulated Polluting Firms: How Costly Are Free Allowances?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    3. Fullerton Don & Heutel Garth, 2011. "Analytical General Equilibrium Effects of Energy Policy on Output and Factor Prices," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-26, January.
    4. Katri Kosonen, 2012. "Regressivity of environmental taxation: myth or reality?," Taxation Papers 32, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    5. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    6. Sebastian Rausch and Valerie J. Karplus, 2014. "Markets versus Regulation: The Efficiency and Distributional Impacts of U.S. Climate Policy Proposals," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I).
    7. Rausch, Sebastian & Metcalf, Gilbert E. & Reilly, John M., 2011. "Distributional impacts of carbon pricing: A general equilibrium approach with micro-data for households," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 20-33.
    8. Dissou, Yazid & Siddiqui, Muhammad Shahid, 2014. "Can carbon taxes be progressive?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 88-100.
    9. Beck, Marisa & Rivers, Nicholas & Wigle, Randall & Yonezawa, Hidemichi, 2015. "Carbon tax and revenue recycling: Impacts on households in British Columbia," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 40-69.
    10. Martin T. Ross, 2018. "Regional Implications Of National Carbon Taxes," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(01), pages 1-39, February.
    11. Gary D. Libecap, 2014. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 424-479, June.
    12. Granqvist, Harry & Grover, David, 2016. "Distributive fairness in paying for clean energy infrastructure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66486, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Mathur, Aparna & Morris, Adele C., 2014. "Distributional effects of a carbon tax in broader U.S. fiscal reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 326-334.
    14. Xaquín Garcia-Muros & Mercedes Burguillo & Mikel Gonzalez-Eguino & Desiderio Romero-Jordán, 2014. "Local air pollution and global climate change taxes: a distributional analysis," Working Papers 2014-01, BC3.
    15. Gary D. Libecap, 2013. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," NBER Working Papers 19501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Caballero, Karina, 2017. "Políticas públicas sectoriales para el cambio climático en América Latina: una aproximación," Documentos de Proyectos 43123, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    17. Cristian Espinosa & Jorge Fornero, 2014. "Welfare Analysis of an Optimal Carbon Tax in Chile," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business, vol. 29(2), pages 75-111, October.
    18. Granqvist, Harry & Grover, David, 2016. "Distributive fairness in paying for clean energy infrastructure," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 87-97.

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    More about this item

    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
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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