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Horizontal Equity Effects in Energy Regulation

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  • Carolyn Fischer
  • William A. Pizer

Abstract

Choices in energy regulation, particularly whether and how to price externalities, can have widely different distributional consequences both across and within income groups. Traditional welfare theory focuses largely on effects across income groups; such “vertical equity” concerns can typically be addressed by a progressive redistribution of emissions revenues. In this paper, we review alternative economic perspectives that give rise to equity concerns within income groups, or “horizontal equity,” and suggest operational measures. We then apply those measures to a stylized model of pollution regulation in the electricity sector. In addition, we look for ways to present the information behind those measures directly to stakeholders. We show how horizontal equity concerns might overshadow efficiency concerns in this context.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolyn Fischer & William A. Pizer, 2017. "Horizontal Equity Effects in Energy Regulation," NBER Working Papers 24033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    5. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard G., 2008. "Environmental and technology policies for climate mitigation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 142-162, March.
    6. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer, 2008. "Compensation rules for climate policy in the electricity sector," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 819-847.
    7. Carolyn Fischer & Alan K. Fox, 2007. "Output-Based Allocation of Emissions Permits for Mitigating Tax and Trade Interactions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 575-599.
    8. Carolyn Fischer & Louis Preonas & Richard G. Newell, 2017. "Environmental and Technology Policy Options in the Electricity Sector: Are We Deploying Too Many?," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 959-984.
    9. World Bank & Ecofys & Vivid Economics, "undated". "State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2016," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25160, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Hafstead, Marc A.C. & Kim, GyuRim & Long, Xianling, 2019. "Impacts of a carbon tax across US household income groups: What are the equity-efficiency trade-offs?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 44-64.
    2. Edenhofer, Ottmar & Flachsland, Christian & Kalkuhl, Matthias & Knopf, Brigitte & Pahle, Michael, 2019. "Optionen für eine CO2-Preisreform," Working Papers 04/2019, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    3. Rick van der Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2019. "The Risk of Policy Tipping and Stranded Carbon Assets," CESifo Working Paper Series 7769, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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