IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17348.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium

Author

Listed:
  • Mikhail Golosov
  • John Hassler
  • Per Krusell
  • Aleh Tsyvinski

Abstract

We analyze a dynamic stochastic general-equilibrium (DSGE) model with an externality through climate change from using fossil energy. A central result of our paper is an analytical derivation of a simple formula for the marginal externality damage of emissions. This formula, which holds under quite plausible assumptions, reveals that the damage is proportional to current GDP, with the proportion depending only on three factors: (i) discounting, (ii) the expected damage elasticity (how many percent of the output flow is lost from an extra unit of carbon in the atmosphere), and (iii) the structure of carbon depreciation in the atmosphere. Very importantly, future values of output, consumption, and the atmospheric CO2 concentration, as well as the paths of technology and population, and so on, all disappear from the formula. The optimal tax, using a standard Pigou argument, is then equal to this marginal externality. The simplicity of the formula allows the optimal tax to be easily parameterized and computed. Based on parameter estimates that rely on updated natural-science studies, we find that the optimal tax should be a bit higher than the median, or most well-known, estimates in the literature. We also show how the optimal taxes depend on the expectations and the possible resolution of the uncertainty regarding future damages. Finally, we compute the optimal and market paths for the use of energy and the corresponding climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Mikhail Golosov & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 17348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17348
    Note: EEE EFG PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17348.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-166, February.
    2. Covas, Francisco, 2006. "Uninsured idiosyncratic production risk with borrowing constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2167-2190, November.
    3. Bovenberg, A Lans & Smulders, Sjak A, 1996. "Transitional Impacts of Environmental Policy in an Endogenous Growth Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(4), pages 861-893, November.
    4. Thomas Sterner & U. Martin Persson, 2008. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 61-76, Winter.
    5. Sinclair, Peter J N, 1992. "High Does Nothing and Rising Is Worse: Carbon Taxes Should Keep Declining to Cut Harmful Emissions," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 60(1), pages 41-52, March.
    6. Angeletos, George-Marios & Calvet, Laurent-Emmanuel, 2006. "Idiosyncratic production risk, growth and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(6), pages 1095-1115, September.
    7. Stern,Nicholas, 2007. "The Economics of Climate Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521700801, May.
    8. Tol, Richard S. J., 2008. "The Social Cost of Carbon: Trends, Outliers and Catastrophes," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 2, pages 1-22.
    9. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Smulders, Sjak, 1995. "Environmental quality and pollution-augmenting technological change in a two-sector endogenous growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 369-391, July.
    10. Johan Eyckmans & Henry Tulkens, 2006. "Simulating Coalitionally Stable Burden Sharing Agreements for the Climate Change Problem," Springer Books, in: Parkash Chander & Jacques Drèze & C. Knox Lovell & Jack Mintz (ed.), Public goods, environmental externalities and fiscal competition, chapter 0, pages 218-249, Springer.
    11. Richard S.J. Tol, 2011. "The Social Cost of Carbon," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 419-443, October.
    12. Blundell,Richard & Newey,Whitney K. & Persson,Torsten (ed.), 2006. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521871525, May.
    13. Sinclair, Peter J N, 1994. "On the Optimum Trend of Fossil Fuel Taxation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 869-877, Supplemen.
    14. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Olovsson, Conny, 2012. "Energy-Saving Technical Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 9177, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2008. "Public policies against global warming: a supply side approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(4), pages 360-394, August.
    16. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
    17. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Is there really a green paradox?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 342-363.
    18. Grimaud, André & Lafforgue, Gilles & Magné, Bertrand, 2011. "Climate change mitigation options and directed technical change: A decentralized equilibrium analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 938-962.
    19. Pizer, William A., 1999. "The optimal choice of climate change policy in the presence of uncertainty," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 255-287, August.
    20. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
    21. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D., 1999. "Bayesian learning, growth, and pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 491-518, February.
    22. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2002. "Environmental Policy and Directed Innovation in a Schumpeterian Growth Model," IDEI Working Papers 153, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    23. Uzawa,Hirofumi, 2009. "Economic Theory and Global Warming," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521066594, May.
    24. Harold Hotelling, 1931. "The Economics of Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39, pages 137-137.
    25. Joseph Stiglitz, 1974. "Growth with Exhaustible Natural Resources: Efficient and Optimal Growth Paths," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 123-137.
    26. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    27. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
    28. Blundell,Richard & Newey,Whitney K. & Persson,Torsten (ed.), 2006. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521692083, May.
    29. Withagen, Cees, 1994. "Pollution and exhaustibility of fossil fuels," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-242, August.
    30. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Roumasset, James & Tse, Kinping, 1997. "Endogenous Substitution among Energy Resources and Global Warming," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1201-1234, December.
    31. Leach, Andrew J., 2009. "The welfare implications of climate change policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 151-165, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hassler, J. & Krusell, P. & Smith, A.A., 2016. "Environmental Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1893-2008, Elsevier.
    2. Benjamin Jones & Michael Keen & Jon Strand, 2013. "Fiscal implications of climate change," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(1), pages 29-70, February.
    3. Stan W.J. Olijslagers & Rick van der Ploeg & Sweder van Wijnbergen, 2021. "On Current and Future Carbon Prices in a Risky World," CESifo Working Paper Series 9092, CESifo.
    4. Lint Barrage, 2019. "The Nobel Memorial Prize for William D. Nordhaus," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 121(3), pages 884-924, July.
    5. Bretschger, Lucas, 2017. "Climate policy and economic growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-15.
    6. Frederick Van Der Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 2014. "Growth, Renewables, And The Optimal Carbon Tax," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55(1), pages 283-311, February.
    7. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Is there really a green paradox?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 342-363.
    8. Grimaud, André & Rouge, Luc, 2014. "Carbon sequestration, economic policies and growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 307-331.
    9. Smulders, Sjak & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Green growth -- lessons from growth theory," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6230, The World Bank.
    10. Christian Beermann, 2015. "Climate Policy and the Intertemporal Supply of Fossil Resources," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 62.
    11. Laurence Kotlikoff & Felix Kubler & Andrey Polbin & Jeffrey Sachs & Simon Scheidegger, 2021. "Making Carbon Taxation A Generational Win Win," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(1), pages 3-46, February.
    12. Corrado Di Maria & Sjak Smulders & Edwin Werf, 2017. "Climate Policy with Tied Hands: Optimal Resource Taxation Under Implementation Lags," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(3), pages 537-551, March.
    13. Armon Rezai & Frederick Ploeg, 2017. "Second-Best Renewable Subsidies to De-carbonize the Economy: Commitment and the Green Paradox," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(3), pages 409-434, March.
    14. Johannes Pfeiffer, 2017. "Fossil Resources and Climate Change – The Green Paradox and Resource Market Power Revisited in General Equilibrium," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 77.
    15. Tunç Durmaz & Fred Schroyen, 2020. "Evaluating Carbon Capture And Storage In A Climate Model With Endogenous Technical Change," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 11(01), pages 1-47, February.
    16. DAUBANES Julien, 2009. "Changement climatique, instruments économiques et propositions pour un accord post-Kyoto : une synthèse," LERNA Working Papers 09.19.295, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    17. Barry Anderson & Emanuele Borgonovo & Marzio Galeotti & Roberto Roson, 2014. "Uncertainty in Climate Change Modeling: Can Global Sensitivity Analysis Be of Help?," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 34(2), pages 271-293, February.
    18. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2013. "Cumulative Carbon Emissions and the Green Paradox," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 281-300, June.
    19. Richard S J Tol, 2018. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 4-25.
    20. Hart, Rob, 2016. "Non-renewable resources in the long run," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 1-20.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17348. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.