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Does the Indexing of Government Transfers Make Carbon Pricing Progressive?

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  • Don Fullerton
  • Garth Heutel
  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

We analyze both the uses side and the sources side incidence of domestic climate policy using an analytical general equilibrium model, taking into account the degree of government program indexing. When transfer programs such as Social Security are explicitly indexed to inflation, higher energy prices automatically lead to cost-of-living adjustments for recipients. We show results with no indexing, 100 percent indexing, and partial indexing based on our analysis of actual transfer programs. When households are classified by annual income, the indexing of U.S. transfers is not enough to offset the regressive uses side, but when they are classified by annual expenditures as a proxy for permanent income, transfer indexing does offset regressivity across the lowest income groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2011. "Does the Indexing of Government Transfers Make Carbon Pricing Progressive?," NBER Working Papers 16768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16768
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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. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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