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

  • Burtraw, Dallas

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Sweeney, Richard
  • Walls, Margaret

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.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-08-28.

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Date of creation: 15 Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-28
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  3. Walls, Margaret & Hanson, Jean, 1996. "Distributional Impacts of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-96-11, Resources For the Future.
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  7. Ruth, Matthias & Gabriel, Steven A. & Palmer, Karen L. & Burtraw, Dallas & Paul, Anthony & Chen, Yihsu & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Irani, Daraius & Michael, Jeffrey & Ross, Kim M. & Conklin, Russell & Mill, 2008. "Economic and energy impacts from participation in the regional greenhouse gas initiative: A case study of the State of Maryland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2279-2289, June.
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  11. Matthew Riddle & James Boyce, 2007. "Cap and Dividend: How to Curb Global Warming while Protecting the Incomes of American Families," Working Papers wp150, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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  15. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  16. Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," NBER Working Papers 5967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ian W.H. Parry & Hilary Sigman & Margaret Walls & Roberton C. Williams III, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," NBER Working Papers 11438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Dallas Burtraw, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 6464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dorfman, Robert, 1977. "Incidence of the Benefits and Costs of Environmental Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 333-40, February.
  20. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
  21. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
  22. Paul, Anthony & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2008. "Compensation for Electricity Consumers Under a U.S. CO2 Emissions Cap," Discussion Papers dp-08-25, Resources For the Future.
  23. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-30, May.
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  26. 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.
  27. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 4), pages 655-82, December.
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