IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Energy Taxes: Traditional Efficiency Effects and Environmental Implications

  • Lawrence H. Goulder
Registered author(s):

    This paper examines 'traditional' (non-environmental) efficiency consequences and environmental effects of two energy tax policies: a tax on fossil and synthetic fuels based on Btu (or energy) content and a tax on consumer purchases of gasoline. It uses a model that uniquely combines attention to details of the U.S. tax system with a consolidated treatment of U.S. energy use and pollution emissions. On traditional efficiency grounds, each of the energy taxes emerges as more costly to the economy than increases in personal or corporate income taxes of equal revenue yield. Simulation experiments indicate that the excess costs of energy taxes are due partly to their relatively narrow tax base. The Btu tax's application to gross output (as compared with net output under an income tax) serves to expand its excess costs; in contrast, the gasoline tax's focus on consumption (as opposed to income) tends to mitigate its excess costs. On the environmental side, we find that for each of eight major air pollutants considered, energy taxes induce emissions reductions that are at least nine times larger than the reductions under the income tax alternatives. Overall, this study indicates that the Btu and gasoline taxes considered are inferior to the alternatives on narrow efficiency grounds but superior on environmental grounds. Whether the environmental attractions of energy taxes are large enough to offset their relatively high non-environmental costs remains an open question.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4582.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4582.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Dec 1993
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Tax Policy and the Economy, vol. 8, ed. James M. Poterba, (MIT Press),1994
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4582
    Note: PE EEE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Goulder, Lawrence H., 1989. "Tax policy, housing prices, and housing investment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 281-304, May.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz & Partha Dasgupta, 1970. "Differential Taxation, Public Goods, and Economic Efficiency," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 299, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
    5. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1993. "Energy Taxes and Aggregate Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "The Distance Function in Consumer Behaviour with Applications to Index Numbers and Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 391-405, July.
    7. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 920-37, July.
    8. James M. Poterba, 1993. "Global Warming Policy: A Public Finance Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 47-63, Fall.
    9. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1989. "Tax Policy, Housing Prices, and Housing Investment," NBER Working Papers 2814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:fth:harver:1424 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1976. "The corporation tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 303-311.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4582. 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: ()

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.