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What Are the Costs of Meeting Distributional Objectives in Designing Domestic Climate Policy?

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  • Parry, Ian W.H.

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Williams, Roberton C. III

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

This paper develops an analytical model to quantify the costs and distributional effects of various fiscal options for allocating the (large) rents created under prospective cap-and-trade programs to reduce domestic, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The trade-off between cost-effectiveness and distribution is striking. The welfare costs of different policies, accounting for linkages with the broader fiscal system, range from –$6 billion per year to $53 billion per year in 2020, or between –$12 to almost $100 per ton of CO2 reductions. The least costly policy involves auctioning all allowances with revenues used to cut proportional income taxes, while the most costly policies involve recycling revenues in lump-sum dividends or grandfathering emissions allowances. The least costly policy is regressive, however, while the dividend policy is progressive, and grandfathering permits is both costly and regressive. A distribution-neutral policy costs $18–$42 per ton of CO2 reductions.

Suggested Citation

  • Parry, Ian W.H. & Williams, Roberton C. III, 2010. "What Are the Costs of Meeting Distributional Objectives in Designing Domestic Climate Policy?," Discussion Papers dp-10-51, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-51
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-10-51.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.
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    6. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Are emissions permits regressive?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 364-387, March.
    7. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2001. "Environmental controls, scarcity rents, and pre-existing distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 249-267, May.
    8. Ian W.H. Parry, 2005. "Fiscal Interactions and the Costs of Controlling Pollution from Electricity," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 849-869, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2015. "The Role of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Policies for Climate Change Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(1), pages 55-80, January.
    2. Adam Rose & Dan Wei & Fynnwin Prager, 2012. "Distributional Impacts Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading: Alternative Allocation And Recycling Strategies In California," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 603-617, October.
    3. Roberton C. Williams III, 2016. "Environmental Taxation," NBER Working Papers 22303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ian Parry & Chandara Veung & Dirk Heine, 2015. "How Much Carbon Pricing Is In Countries’ Own Interests? The Critical Role Of Co-Benefits," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 6(04), pages 1-26, November.
    5. Roberton C. Williams III & Hal Gordon & Dallas Burtraw & Jared C. Carbone & Richard D. Morgenstern, 2015. "The Initial Incidence of a Carbon Tax Across Income Groups," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(1), pages 195-214, March.
    6. Ian Parry, 2015. "Carbon Tax Burdens on Low-Income Households: A Reason for Delaying Climate Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5482, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Jun E Rentschler & Nobuhiro Hosoe, 2017. "Illicit dealings: Fossil fuel subsidy reforms and the role of tax evasion and smuggling," GRIPS Discussion Papers 17-05, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    8. Parry, Ian, 2015. "Designing Fiscal Policy to Address the External Costs of Energy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 8(1), pages 1-56, May.
    9. Roberton C. Williams III & Hal Gordon & Dallas Burtraw & Jared C. Carbone & Richard D. Morgenstern, 2014. "The Initial Incidence of a Carbon Tax Across U.S. States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 67(4), pages 807-830, December.
    10. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2012. "Climate policy and fiscal constraints: Do tax interactions outweigh carbon leakage?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 218-227.
    11. repec:oup:renvpo:v:11:y:2017:i:1:p:138-155. is not listed on IDEAS
    12. van Ruijven, Bas J. & O’Neill, Brian C. & Chateau, Jean, 2015. "Methods for including income distribution in global CGE models for long-term climate change research," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 530-543.
    13. Jan Siegmeier & Linus Mattauch & Max Franks & David Klenert & Anselm Schultes & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2015. "A Public Finance Perspective on Climate Policy: Six Interactions That May Enhance Welfare," Working Papers 2015.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    14. Joshua Blonz & Dallas Burtraw & Margaret Walls, 2012. "Social safety nets and US climate policy costs," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 474-490, July.
    15. Gordon, Hal & Burtraw, Dallas & Williams, Roberton, 2015. "A Microsimulation Model of the Distributional Impacts of Climate Policies," Discussion Papers dp-14-40, Resources For the Future.
    16. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Lessmann, Kai, 2013. "Renewable energy subsidies: Second-best policy or fatal aberration for mitigation?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 217-234.
    17. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2014. "Shedding light on the appropriateness of the (high) gasoline tax level in Germany," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 189-210.
    18. Goulder, Lawrence H., 2013. "Climate change policy's interactions with the tax system," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages 3-11.
    19. Cullenward, Danny & T. Wilkerson, Jordan & Wara, Michael & Weyant, John P., 2016. "Dynamically estimating the distributional impacts of U.S. climate policy with NEMS: A case study of the Climate Protection Act of 2013," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 303-318.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cap-and-trade; welfare cost; distributional incidence; revenue recycling;

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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