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A conflict of interests in electricity taxation? A micro econometric analysis of household behaviour




In conducting economic policy, governments generally face conflicts in various objectives, e.g. between efficiency and equity. In Norway, one objective of energy politics has been to reduce electricity consumption, and several tax increases have been proposed. Whether this objective may be in conflict with objectives of efficiency and equity is the focus in this paper. We discuss the effects on household behaviour of three different electricity tax schemes, one proportional and two non-linear. For each household we estimate the reduction in household electricity consumption. As measures of distributional effects and efficiency effects we estimate compensating variation and excess tax burden from the tax schemes. We find that the non-linear tax scheme targeting high electricity consumption is most preferred in order to reduce consumption and least preferred concerning the objective of minimizing excess tax burden. When considering distributional effects, the ranking of tax schemes depends on the weight placed on different household groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Bente Halvorsen & Runa Nesbakken, 2002. "A conflict of interests in electricity taxation? A micro econometric analysis of household behaviour," Discussion Papers 338, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:338

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruggeri, G C & Van Wart, D & Howard, R, 1994. "The Redistributional Impact of Government Spending in Canada," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(2), pages 212-243.
    2. Gemmell, Norman, 1985. "The Incidence of Government Expenditure and Redistribution in the United Kingdom," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(27), pages 335-344, August.
    3. Aaberge, Rolf & Langorgen, Audun, 2003. "Fiscal and Spending Behavior of Local Governments: Identification of Price Effects When Prices Are Not Observed," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(1-2), pages 125-161, October.
    4. Audun Langørgen & Rolf Aaberge, 1999. "A Structural Approach for Measuring Fiscal Disparities," Discussion Papers 254, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Aaberge, Rolf & Melby, Ingrid, 1998. "The Sensitivity of Income Inequality to Choice of Equivalence Scales," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 565-569, December.
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    More about this item


    Household energy consumption; electricity taxation; distributional effects; excess tax burden; compensated variation; tax burden; linear expenditure system.;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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