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A Chinese Sky Trust? Distributional Impacts of Carbon charges and Revenue Recycling in China


  • James Boyce
  • Matthew Riddle
  • Mark D. Brenner


The introduction of carbon charges on the use of fossil fuels in China would have a progressive impact on income distribution. This outcome, which contrasts to the regressive distributional impact found in most studies of carbon charges in industrialized countries, is driven primarily by differences between urban and rural expenditure patterns. If carbon revenues were recycled on an equal per capita basis via a ‘sky trust,’ the progressive impact would be further enhanced: low-income (mainly rural) households would receive more in sky-trust dividends than they pay in carbon charges, and high-income (mainly urban) households would pay more than they receive in dividends. Thus a Chinese sky trust would contribute to both lower fossil fuel consumption and greater income equality.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp_brenner_riddle_boyce

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Callan, Tim & Lyons, Sean & Scott, Susan & Tol, Richard S.J. & Verde, Stefano, 2009. "The distributional implications of a carbon tax in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 407-412, February.
    2. Viola Ferjentsik & Michael Ash, 2007. "An EU Sky Trust: Distributional Analysis for Hungary," Working Papers wp138, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    More about this item


    carbon charges; fossil fuels; China; income distribution; carbon revenues; fuel consumption; income equality;

    JEL classification:

    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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