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The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit

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  • Burtraw, Dallas

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Sweeney, Richard
  • Walls, Margaret

Abstract

Federal policies aimed to slow global warming would impose potentially significant costs on households that vary depending on the policy approach that is used. This paper evaluates the effects of a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program on households in each of 11 regions of the country and sorted into annual income deciles. We find tremendous variation in the incidence (the distribution of cost) of the policy. The most important feature that affects households is how the policy distributes the value created by placing a price on CO2 emissions. We evaluate 10 policy alternatives that yield results that range from moderately progressive (expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, investments in efficiency and capand- dividend) to severely regressive (reduce income taxes, free distribution to incumbent emitters and reduction of the payroll tax). To varying degrees the allocation of the value of emissions allowances amplifies or potentially resolves the tradeoff between equity and efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit," Discussion Papers dp-08-28, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-28
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-08-28.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Marilyn A. & Li, Yufei & Soni, Anmol, 2020. "Are all jobs created equal? Regional employment impacts of a U.S. carbon tax," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 262(C).
    2. Pollak, Melisa & Meyer, Bryn & Wilson, Elizabeth, 2011. "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Lessons from state climate action plans," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5429-5439, September.
    3. James M. Sallee, 2019. "Pigou Creates Losers: On the Implausibility of Achieving Pareto Improvements from Efficiency-Enhancing Policies," NBER Working Papers 25831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael I. Cragg & Yuyu Zhou & Kevin Gurney & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Carbon Geography: The Political Economy Of Congressional Support For Legislation Intended To Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1640-1650, April.
    5. Shammin, Md Rumi & Bullard, Clark W., 2009. "Impact of cap-and-trade policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on U.S. households," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2432-2438, June.
    6. Trevor Houser, 2009. "The Economics of Energy Efficiency in Buildings," Policy Briefs PB09-17, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    7. Corbett Grainger & Charles Kolstad, 2010. "Who Pays a Price on Carbon?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 359-376, July.
    8. James Boyce & Matthew Riddle, 2008. "Keeping the Government Whole: The Impact of a Cap-and-Dividend Policy for Curbing Global Warming on Government Revenue and Expenditure," Working Papers wp188, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cap-and-trade; allocation; distributional effects; cost burden; equity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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