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Designing an electricity tax system in presence of international regulations and multiple public goals: An empirical assessment

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Abstract

The European competition rules restrict governments' opportunity to differentiate terms of energy accessibility among firms and industries. This easily runs counter with regional and industrial goals of national energy policies. Norway levies a tax on use of electricity, but exempts main industrial usages. This analysis assesses alternative, internationally legal, designs of the system in terms of their effects on efficiency and distribution, including industrial objectives. Among the reforms we explore, removing the exemptions would be the most effective way of raising revenue, but it would be politically costly by deteriorating the competitiveness of today's favoured industries. An entire abolishment of the electricity tax, and replacing revenue by increased VAT, would generate a more equal distribution of standard of living and, at the same time, avoid the trade-off between efficiency and competitiveness.

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  • Geir H. Bjertnæs & Taran Fæhn & Jørgen Aasness, 2008. "Designing an electricity tax system in presence of international regulations and multiple public goals: An empirical assessment," Discussion Papers 555, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:555
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    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp555.pdf
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    1. Klette, Tor Jakob, 1999. "Market Power, Scale Economies and Productivity: Estimates from a Panel of Establishment Data," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 451-476, December.
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    3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    4. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    5. Erling Holmøy & Birger Strøm, 2004. "The Social Cost of Government Spending in an Economy with Large Tax Distortions. A CGE Decomposition for Norway," Discussion Papers 396, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    6. Bjertnæs, Geir H. & Fæhn, Taran, 2008. "Energy taxation in a small, open economy: Social efficiency gains versus industrial concerns," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 2050-2071, July.
    7. Lawrence H. Goulder & Roberton C. Williams III, 2003. "The Substantial Bias from Ignoring General Equilibrium Effects in Estimating Excess Burden, and a Practical Solution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 898-927, August.
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    9. Bowitz, Einar & Cappelen, Adne, 2001. "Modeling income policies: some Norwegian experiences 1973-1993," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 349-379, August.
    10. 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.
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    Keywords

    Tax reform; Multiple policy goals; Computable general equilibrium model;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods

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