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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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  1. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-89, September.
  2. Parry, Ian & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary & Williams III, Roberton, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers dp-05-24, Resources For the Future.
  3. 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.
  4. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2006. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," NBER Working Papers 12530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barthold, Thomas A., 1993. "How Should We Measure Distribution?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(3), pages 291-99, September.
  8. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
  9. Nicholas Bull & Kevin A. Hassett & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1994. "Who Pays Broad-Based Energy Taxes? Computing Lifetime and Regional Incidence," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 145-164.
  10. 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.
  11. Parry, Ian, 2003. "Are Emissions Permits Regressive?," Discussion Papers dp-03-21, Resources For the Future.
  12. 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.
  13. Dahl, Carol A., 1993. "A survey of energy demand elasticities in support of the development of the NEMS," MPRA Paper 13962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Andrew B. Lyon & Robert M. Schwab, 1991. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," NBER Working Papers 3932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-52, September.
  16. Stavins, Robert & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Cost Heterogeneity and the Potential Savings from Market-Based Policies," Discussion Papers dp-00-10-rev, Resources For the Future.
  17. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-83, March.
  18. Walls, Margaret & Hanson, Jean, 1999. "Distributional Aspects of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 1), pages 53-65, March.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73560 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Gianessi, Leonard P & Peskin, Henry M & Wolff, Edward, 1979. "The Distributional Effects of Uniform Air Pollution Policy in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 281-301, May.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," Working Papers 050603, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  27. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152985 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Carolyn Fischer & Winston Harrington & Ian W.H. Parry, 2007. "Should Automobile Fuel Economy Standards be Tightened?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-30.
  29. 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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