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Energy Taxation in a Small, Open Economy: Efficiency Gains under Political Restraints

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    Welfare analyses of energy taxes typically show that systems with uniform rates perform better than differentiated systems, especially if revenue increases can be recycled via cuts in more distortionary taxes. However, in the practical policy debates, the scope for efficiency gains is traded against industrial concerns. A major explanation to the widespread use of exemptions in energy tax systems has to be sought in the fact that energy-dependent industries tend to constitute powerful lobby groups. Presumably, energy-dependent industries of small, open economies will suffer relatively strongly if taxed, and compensating them will be costly. This CGE study of the case of equalising the Norwegian electricity tax shows that compensating the energy-intensive export industries is surprisingly modest. It is explained by the role of the Nordic electricity market, which is still limited enough to respond to national energy tax reforms. Thus, electricity price reductions partly neutralise the direct impact of the tax on profits. We also examine the effects of different compensation schemes and find significant compensation cost reductions when the scheme is designed to release productivity gains.

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    Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 387.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:387
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    1. Tor Jakob Klette, 1994. "Estimating Price- Cost Margins and Scale Economies from a Panel of Microdata," Discussion Papers 130, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy Introduction," NBER Working Papers 7648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    8. Don Fullerton & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1997. "Environmental Controls, Scarcity Rents, and Pre-Existing Distortions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9703, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    9. Bohringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1997. "Carbon Taxes with Exemptions in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Analysis of the German Tax Initiative," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-203, February.
    10. Paul Ekins & Stefan Speck, 1999. "Competitiveness and Exemptions From Environmental Taxes in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(4), pages 369-396, June.
    11. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    12. Brita Bye & Karine Nyborg, 2003. "Are Differentiated Carbon Taxes Inefficient? A General Equilibrium Analysis," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 95-112.
    13. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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