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Is There a Rationale for Rebating Environmental Levies?

  • Fischer, Carolyn

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Bernard, Alain
  • Vielle, Marc

Political pressure often exists for rebating environmental levies, particularly when incomplete regulatory coverage allegedly creates an “unlevel playing field” with other, unregulated firms or industries. This paper assesses the conditions under which rebating environmental levies is justified for the regulated sector. It combines a theoretical approach based on second-best modeling with numerical simulations aimed at determining the most sensitive parameters. We find that if an adequate tax on production can be levied in the unregulated sector, no rebate is justified for the regulated sector. Moreover, even in the case of constrained taxation in the unregulated sector, a tax rebate or a subsidy in the regulated sector is not necessarily a welfare-increasing policy. The exception occurs when the goods of the competing sectors are close substitutes. We find that these kinds of policy contraints can be quite costly in terms of welfare.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-01-31-.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-31-
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  1. Bradford, David F & Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "The Optimal Taxation of Commodities and Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 94-101, May.
  2. Sterner, Thomas & Hoglund, Lena, 2000. "Output-Based Refunding of Emission Payments: Theory, Distribution of Costs, and International Experience," Discussion Papers dp-00-29, Resources For the Future.
  3. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Rebating Environmental Policy Revenues: Output-Based Allocations and Tradable Performance Standards," Discussion Papers dp-01-22, Resources For the Future.
  4. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2001. "Second-best taxation of emissions and polluting goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 169-197, May.
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