IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/uma/periwp/wp150.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cap and Dividend: How to Curb Global Warming while Protecting the Incomes of American Families

Author

Listed:
  • Matthew Riddle
  • James Boyce

Abstract

This essay examines the distributional effects of a “cap-and-dividend" policy for reducing carbon emission in the United States: a policy that auctions carbon permits and distributes the revenue to the public on an equal per capita basis. The aim of the policy is to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the main pollutant causing global warming, while at the same time protecting the real incomes of middle-income and lower-income American families. The number of permits is set by a statutory cap on carbon emissions that gradually diminishes over time. The sale of carbon permits will generate very large revenues, posing the critical question of who will get the money. The introduction of carbon permits – or, for that matter, any policy to curb emissions – will raise prices of fossil fuels and have a regressive impact on income distribution, since fuel expenditures represent a larger fraction of income for lower-income households than for upper-income households. The net effect of carbon emission-reduction policies depends on who gets the money that households pay in higher prices. We find that a cap-and-dividend policy would have a strongly progressive net effect. Moreover, the majority of U.S. households would be net winners in purely monetary terms: that is, their real incomes, after paying higher fuel prices and receiving their dividends, would rise. From the standpoints of both distributional equity and political feasibility, a cap-and-dividend policy is therefore an attractive way to curb carbon emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Riddle & James Boyce, 2007. "Cap and Dividend: How to Curb Global Warming while Protecting the Incomes of American Families," Working Papers wp150, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp150
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://per.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_101-150/WP150.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frank Ackerman, "undated". "The Unbearable Lightness of Regulatory Costs," GDAE Working Papers 06-02, GDAE, Tufts University.
    2. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Baranzini, Andrea, 2004. "What do we know about carbon taxes? An inquiry into their impacts on competitiveness and distribution of income," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 507-518, March.
    3. James K. Boyce, 2002. "The Political Economy of the Environment," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2080.
    4. Henrik Klinge Jacobsen & Katja Birr-Pedersen & Mette Wier, 2003. "Distributional Implications of Environmental Taxation in Denmark," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 477-499, December.
    5. Brannlund, Runar & Nordstrom, Jonas, 2004. "Carbon tax simulations using a household demand model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 211-233, February.
    6. Fischer, Carolyn & Kerr, Suzi & Toman, Michael, 1998. "Using Emissions Trading to Regulate U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Overview of Policy Design and Implementation Issues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(3), pages 453-464, September.
    7. Dinan, Terry & Rogers, Diane Lim, 2002. "Distributional Effects of Carbon AllowanceTrading: How Government Decisions Determine Winners and Losers," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(2), pages 199-221, June.
    8. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872, Elsevier.
    9. Muller, Nicholas Z. & Mendelsohn, Robert, 2007. "Measuring the damages of air pollution in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-14, July.
    10. Parry, Ian W.H. & Sigman, Hilary & Walls, Margaret & Williams, Roberton C., III, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers 10651, Resources for the Future.
    11. Goulder, Lawrence, 2002. "Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies on Energy-Intensive Industries," Discussion Papers dp-02-22, Resources For the Future.
    12. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Are emissions permits regressive?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 364-387, March.
    13. Lawrence Shepard, 1976. "The Short-Run Incidence of a Gasoline Tax Rebate Plan," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 169-172, March.
    14. West, Sarah E. & Williams, R.C.Roberton III, 2004. "Estimates from a consumer demand system: implications for the incidence of environmental taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 535-558, May.
    15. Kirk Hamilton & Grant Cameron, 1994. "Simulating the Distributional Effects of a Canadian Carbon Tax," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(4), pages 385-399, December.
    16. Peter Cramton & Suzi Kerr, 1999. "The Distributional Effects of Carbon Regulation: Why Auctioned Carbon Permits are Attractive and Feasible," Papers of Peter Cramton 99eedecr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised Feb 1998.
    17. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(4), pages 655-682, December.
    18. West, Sarah E., 2004. "Distributional effects of alternative vehicle pollution control policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 735-757, March.
    19. Antonia Cornwell & John Creedy, 1996. "Carbon taxation, prices and inequality in Australia," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 21-38, August.
    20. S. Paltsev & J. Reilly & H. Jacoby & A. Gurgel & G. Metcalf & A. Sokolov & J. Holak, 2007. "Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals," Working Papers 0705, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    21. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2001. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number carr01-1, June.
    22. Wier, Mette & Birr-Pedersen, Katja & Jacobsen, Henrik Klinge & Klok, Jacob, 2005. "Are CO2 taxes regressive? Evidence from the Danish experience," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 239-251, January.
    23. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 4), pages 655-82, December.
    24. Elizabeth Symons & John Proops & Philip Gay, 1994. "Carbon taxes, consumer demand and carbon dioxide emissions: a simulation analysis for the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 19-43, May.
    25. Kayser, Hilke A., 2000. "Gasoline demand and car choice: estimating gasoline demand using household information," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 331-348, June.
    26. Archibald, Robert & Gillingham, Robert, 1980. "An Analysis of the Short-Run Consumer Demand for Gasoline Using Household Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 622-628, November.
    27. Dinan, Terry & Rogers, Diane Lim, 2002. "Distributional Effects of Carbon AllowanceTrading: How Government Decisions Determine Winners and Losers," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 2), pages 199-221, June.
    28. Goulder, Lawrence H., 2002. "Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies on Energy-Intensive Industries," Discussion Papers 10642, Resources for the Future.
    29. Tiezzi, Silvia, 2005. "The welfare effects and the distributive impact of carbon taxation on Italian households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1597-1612, August.
    30. Stephen J. Decanio, 2007. "Distribution of emissions allowances as an opportunity," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 91-103, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jenkins, Jesse D., 2014. "Political economy constraints on carbon pricing policies: What are the implications for economic efficiency, environmental efficacy, and climate policy design?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 467-477.
    2. Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca S. & Wilen, James E., 2010. "Optimal control of spatial-dynamic processes: The case of biological invasions," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61375, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Fremstad, Anders & Paul, Mark, 2019. "The Impact of a Carbon Tax on Inequality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 88-97.
    4. Paul, Anthony & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2008. "Compensation for Electricity Consumers Under a U.S. CO2 Emissions Cap," Discussion Papers dp-08-25, Resources For the Future.
    5. Jesse D. Jenkins & Valerie J. Karplus, 2016. "Carbon pricing under binding political constraints," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-44, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Servaas Storm, 2009. "Forum 2009," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 40(6), pages 1011-1038, November.
    7. Burtraw, Dallas & Sekar, Samantha, 2013. "Two World Views on Carbon Revenues," Discussion Papers dp-13-32, Resources For the Future.
    8. Robert N. Stavins, 2020. "The Future of US Carbon-Pricing Policy," Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 8-64.
    9. Burtraw, Dallas & Evans, David A., 2009. "Tradable rights to emit air pollution," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26.
    10. Jesse D. Jenkins & Valerie J. Karplus, 2016. "Carbon pricing under binding political constraints," WIDER Working Paper Series 044, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Farley, Joshua & Costanza, Robert & Flomenhoft, Gary & Kirk, Daniel, 2015. "The Vermont Common Assets Trust: An institution for sustainable, just and efficient resource allocation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 71-79.
    12. Stavins, Robert N., 2019. "The Future of U.S. Carbon-Pricing Policy: Normative Assessment and Positive Prognosis," Working Paper Series rwp19-017, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    13. Roberton C. Williams III & Hal Gordon & Dallas Burtraw & Jared C. Carbone & Richard D. Morgenstern, 2015. "The Initial Incidence of a Carbon Tax Across Income Groups," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(1), pages 195-214, March.
    14. James Boyce & Matthew Riddle, 2010. "CLEAR Economics: State-Level Impacts of the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act on Family Incomes and Jobs," Published Studies clear_boyce_revised_july2, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    15. James Boyce & Matthew Riddle, 2008. "Keeping the Government Whole: The Impact of a Cap-and-Dividend Policy for Curbing Global Warming on Government Revenue and Expenditure," Working Papers wp188, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    16. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit," Discussion Papers dp-08-28, Resources For the Future.
    17. James Boyce & Manuel Pastor, 2012. "Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air: Climate Policy, Carbon Pricing, and Co-Benefits," Published Studies cooling_the_planet_sept20, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    18. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2018. "Dematerialization, Decoupling, and Productivity Change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 204-216.
    19. Dallas Burtraw & Samantha Sekar, 2014. "Two world views on carbon revenues," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 4(1), pages 110-120, March.
    20. Azad, Rohit & Chakraborty, Shouvik, 2020. "Green Growth and the Right to Energy in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    21. Gordon, Hal & Burtraw, Dallas & Williams, Roberton, 2015. "A Microsimulation Model of the Distributional Impacts of Climate Policies," Discussion Papers dp-14-40, Resources For the Future.
    22. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.
    23. Edsel Beja, 2012. "Subjective Well-Being Approach to Environmental Valuation: Evidence for Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 243-266, November.
    24. Gerald Epstein, 2014. "Restructuring finance to promote productive employment," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 161-170, September.
    25. Burtraw, Dallas & Parry, Ian W.H., 2011. "Options for Returning the Value of CO2 Emissions Allowances to Households," Discussion Papers dp-11-03, Resources For the Future.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Brenner, Mark & Riddle, Matthew & Boyce, James K., 2007. "A Chinese sky trust?: Distributional impacts of carbon charges and revenue recycling in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1771-1784, March.
    2. James Boyce & Matthew Riddle & Mark D. Brenner, 2005. "A Chinese Sky Trust? Distributional Impacts of Carbon charges and Revenue Recycling in China," Working Papers wp_brenner_riddle_boyce, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    3. Nils Ohlendorf & Michael Jakob & Jan Christoph Minx & Carsten Schröder & Jan Christoph Steckel, 2018. "Distributional Impacts of Climate Mitigation Policies - a Meta-Analysis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1776, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Nils Ohlendorf & Michael Jakob & Jan Christoph Minx & Carsten Schröder & Jan Christoph Steckel, 2021. "Distributional Impacts of Carbon Pricing: A Meta-Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 78(1), pages 1-42, January.
    5. Parry, Ian W.H. & Sigman, Hilary & Walls, Margaret & Williams, Roberton C., III, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers 10651, Resources for the Future.
    6. Don Fullerton, 2008. "Distributional Effects of Environmental and Energy Policy: An Introduction," NBER Working Papers 14241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jiang, Zhujun & Shao, Shuai, 2014. "Distributional effects of a carbon tax on Chinese households: A case of Shanghai," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 269-277.
    8. Moritz A. Drupp & Ulrike Kornek & Jasper N. Meya & Lutz Sager, 2021. "Inequality and the Environment: The Economics of a Two-Headed Hydra," CESifo Working Paper Series 9447, CESifo.
    9. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
    10. Peter Grösche & Carsten Schröder, 2014. "On the redistributive effects of Germany’s feed-in tariff," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1339-1383, June.
    11. Corbett Grainger & Charles Kolstad, 2010. "Who Pays a Price on Carbon?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 359-376, July.
    12. Wang, Qian & Hubacek, Klaus & Feng, Kuishuang & Guo, Lin & Zhang, Kun & Xue, Jinjun & Liang, Qiao-Mei, 2019. "Distributional impact of carbon pricing in Chinese provinces," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 327-340.
    13. Corbett A. Grainger & Charles D. Kolstad, 2010. "Distribution and Climate Change Policies," Chapters, in: Emilio Cerdá Tena & Xavier Labandeira (ed.), Climate Change Policies, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Adrien Vogt‐Schilb & Stephane Hallegatte, 2017. "Climate policies and nationally determined contributions: reconciling the needed ambition with the political economy," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(6), November.
    15. Heindl, Peter & Löschel, Andreas, 2015. "Social implications of green growth policies from the perspective of energy sector reform and its impact on households," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-012, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    16. Gonzalez, Fidel, 2012. "Distributional effects of carbon taxes: The case of Mexico," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2102-2115.
    17. Cludius, Johanna & Beznoska, Martin & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Distributional effects of the European Emissions Trading System and the role of revenue recycling: Empirical evidence from combined industry- and household-level data," Discussion Papers 2012/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    18. Joshua Blonz & Dallas Burtraw & Margaret Walls, 2012. "Social safety nets and US climate policy costs," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 474-490, July.
    19. Martin Beznoska & Johanna Cludius & Viktor Steiner, 2012. "The Incidence of the European Union Emissions Trading System and the Role of Revenue Recycling: Empirical Evidence from Combined Industry- and Household-Level Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1227, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    20. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Aparna Mathur & Kevin A. Hassett, 2011. "Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of US Climate Policy, pages 21-34, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Global warming; fossil fuels; climate change; carbon permits; cap-and-rebate; cap-and-auction; cap-and-trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp150. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/permaus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Judy Fogg The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Judy Fogg to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/permaus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.