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Distributional and Environmental Effects of Taxes on Transportation




This article studies environmental and distributional effects from a differentiated tax system on a set of disaggregated transportation goods. Empirical examination on Norwegian data indicates that higher tax rates on high-pollution luxury modes of transportation such as air flights and taxis reduce inequality and increase the environmental quality. Lower tax rates on low-pollution necessary modes such as buses, bicycles, and mopeds reduce inequality and increase environmental quality. However, higher taxes on high-pollution necessities such as gasoline have favorable environmental effects, but increase inequality somewhat. Railway passenger transportation appears to be distributionally neutral. In order to interpret the estimates with respect to distributional and environmental concerns, we use a theory of distribution effects based on Engel, child, and adult elasticities and a wide range of empirical estimates of environmental hazards from transportation consumption. For different modes of transportation, we study emissions per passenger-kilometer and per monetary unit.

Suggested Citation

  • Jørgen Aasness & Erling Røed Larsen, 2002. "Distributional and Environmental Effects of Taxes on Transportation," Discussion Papers 321, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:321

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. Proost & D. Regemorter, 1995. "The double dividend and the role of inequality aversion and macroeconomic regimes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 207-219, August.
    2. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
    3. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    4. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 1997. " Optimal Tax and Public Investment Rules for Congestion Type of Externalities," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 261-279, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Erling Røed Larsen, 2002. "Searching for Basic Consumption Patterns Is the Engel Elasticity of Housing Unity?," Discussion Papers 323, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Erling Røed Larsen, 2002. "Estimating Latent Total Consumption in a Household," Discussion Papers 324, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item


    Distribution; environmental effects; indirect taxation; Pigou correction; transportation;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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