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On the measurement of environmental taxes

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    The purpose of environmental taxes is to correct the market when it fails to take environmental damages into account, i.e. to internalize the Pigouvian element. In addition, fiscal taxes are levied on both polluting and clean goods, which may follow the Ramsey principle. In practical policy, environmental and fiscal taxes are conceptually intertwined. This mixture complicates the calculation of the extent and the evaluation of the effects of environmental taxes. Eurostat, OECD and IEA include all taxes related to energy, transport and pollution, and most resource taxes in their international measurement of environmentally related taxes. Consequently, numerous fiscal taxes are added together with the environmental taxes. This article discusses the distinctions between the Pigouvian and the fiscal taxes in light of tax theory. The revenues following the Eurostat et al. statistical basis deviate significantly from the revenues from the environmental taxes defined on the basis of theory. Steps should be taken to harmonize the international statistics of environmental taxes with economic tax theory.

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    Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 599.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:599
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    1. 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.
    2. European Commission, 2008. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2008 edition," Taxation trends 2008, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    3. Ekins, Paul, 1999. "European environmental taxes and charges: recent experience, issues and trends," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 39-62, October.
    4. Annegrete Bruvoll & Bodil Merethe Larsen, 2002. "Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway Do carbon taxes work?," Discussion Papers 337, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Torstein Bye & Annegrete Bruvoll, 2008. "Multiple instruments to change energy behaviour: The emperor’s new clothes?," Discussion Papers 549, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
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