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Costs of Environmentally Motivated Taxes in the Presence of Other Taxes:General Equilibrium Analyses

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  • A. Lans Bovenberg
  • Lawrence H. Goulder

Abstract

There has been keen interest in recent years in environmentally motivated or 'green' tax reforms. This paper employs analytical and numerical general equilibrium models to investigate the costs of such reforms, concentrating on the question of whether these costs can be eliminated when revenues from new environmental taxes are devoted to cuts in marginal income tax rates. A distinguishing feature of the analytical model is its attention to the role of pre-existing inefficiencies in the tax treatment of labor and capital and the associated role of tax-shifting. This model indicates how the prospects for a zero- or negative-cost environmental tax reform are enhanced to the extent that environmental tax reforms shift the tax burden toward the less efficient (undertaxed) factor. Results from the numerical model are interpreted in light of the analytical model's findings. These results indicate that the revenue- neutral substitution of Btu or gasoline taxes for typical income taxes usually entails positive gross costs to the economy. In the case of the gasoline tax, a significant tax shifting effect serves to lower the policy's gross costs. This accounts for the lower gross cost of the gasoline tax compared with the Btu tax. Under neither policy is tax-shifting substantial enough to eliminate the overall gross costs.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1995. "Costs of Environmentally Motivated Taxes in the Presence of Other Taxes:General Equilibrium Analyses," NBER Working Papers 5117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5117
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bovenberg, A. L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1994. "Environmental policy, public finance and the labour market in a second-best world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 349-390, November.
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    6. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    7. Julio I. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1994. "Energy Taxes and Aggregate Economic Activity," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 159-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1998. "Environmental Policy Making in a Second-Best Setting," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 279-328, November.
    2. Parry, Ian & Oates, Wallace, 1998. "Policy Analysis in a Second-Best World," Discussion Papers dp-98-48, Resources For the Future.
    3. Alberto Majocchi, 1996. "Green fiscal reform and employment: A survey," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 8(4), pages 375-397, December.
    4. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    5. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Rebating Environmental Policy Revenues: Output-Based Allocations and Tradable Performance Standards," Discussion Papers dp-01-22, Resources For the Future.
    6. Sarah E. West & Roberton C. Williams III, 2004. "Empirical Estimates for Environmental Policy Making in a Second- Best Setting," Public Economics 0402005, EconWPA.
    7. Goulder, Lawrence, 2002. "Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies on Energy-Intensive Industries," Discussion Papers dp-02-22, Resources For the Future.
    8. Fullerton, Don & Heutel, Garth, 2007. "The general equilibrium incidence of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 571-591, April.
    9. Parry, Ian, 2001. "How Should Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Finance Its Transportation Deficit?," Discussion Papers dp-01-12, Resources For the Future.
    10. Inge Mayeres, 1999. "The Distributional Impacts of Policies for the Control of Transport Externalities.An Applied General Equilibrium Model," Working Papers 1999.8, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Parry, Ian W.H., 2007. "Are the costs of reducing greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles negative?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 273-293, September.
    12. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2001. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does It Cost?," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 45-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ruocco, Anna & Wiegard, Wolfgang, 1996. "Green tax reforms: Understanding the double dividend hypothesis," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 77, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    14. Ian W.H. Parry, 1999. "Agricultural Policies in the Presence of Distorting Taxes," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 212-230.
    15. Brita Bye, 1998. "Labour Market Rigidities and Environmental Tax Reforms: Welfare Effects of Different Regimes," Discussion Papers 242, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    16. Ian W. H. Parry, 2003. "Fiscal Interactions and the Case for Carbon Taxes Over Grandfathered Carbon Permits," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 385-399.
    17. Parry, Ian W.H. & Laxminarayan, Ramanan & West, Sarah E., 2006. "Fiscal and Externality Rationales for Alcohol Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-06-51, Resources For the Future.
    18. Jean-Christophe Caffet, 2005. "Health effects and optimal environmental taxes in welfare state countries," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v05049, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    19. Margherita Cagiano de Azevedo, 2002. "Recent Developments In The Environmental Debate Before And After The Kyoto Protocol: A Survey," ISAE Working Papers 25, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
    20. Bye, Brita, 2000. "Environmental Tax Reform and Producer Foresight: An Intertemporal Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 719-752, November.
    21. Heo, Deung-Yong Yong, 2015. "Studies on electric power markets: preparing for the penetration of renewable resources," ISU General Staff Papers 201501010800005377, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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