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Implementing energy subsidy reforms : an overview of the key issues

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  • Vagliasindi, Maria

Abstract

Poorly implemented energy subsidies are economically costly to taxpayers and damage the environment. This report describes the emerging lessons that could help policy makers to address implementation challenges, including overcoming political economy and affordability constraints. The analysis provides strong evidence of the success of reforms in reducing the associated fiscal burden. For the selected sample of 20 developing countries, the average energy subsidy recorded in the budget was reduced from 1.8 percent in 2004 to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2010. The reduction of subsidies is particularly remarkable for net energy importers. In spite of the relatively price inelastic demand for gasoline and diesel, fossil fuel consumption in the road sector (per unit of gross domestic product) declined in the 20 countries examined from 53 (44) in 2002 to about 23 kilotonnes oil equivalent per million of gross domestic product in 2008 in the case of gasoline (diesel). The most notable decline in consumption was recorded in the low-income and lower-middle-income countries. This reflects the much higher rate of growth in gross domestic product in this group of countries. And it underlines the opportunities to influence future consumption behavior rather than modifying the existing consumption patterns, overcoming inertia and vested interests. Similar trends are recorded for power consumption. While there is no one-size-fits-all model for subsidy reform, implementation of compensatory social policies and an effective communication strategy, before the changes were introduced, made a difference in securing the successful implementation of reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Vagliasindi, Maria, 2012. "Implementing energy subsidy reforms : an overview of the key issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6122, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diego Angel-Urdinola & Quentin Wodon, 2007. "Do Utility Subsidies Reach the Poor? Framework and Evidence for Cape Verde, Sao Tome, and Rwanda," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(4), pages 1-7.
    2. Robert Gillingham & David Locke Newhouse & David Coady & Kangni R Kpodar & Moataz El-Said & Paulo A Medas, 2006. "The Magnitude and Distribution of Fuel Subsidies; Evidence from Bolivia, Ghana, Jordan, Mali, and Sri Lanka," IMF Working Papers 06/247, International Monetary Fund.
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    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2007:i:4:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dahl, Carol A., 2012. "Measuring global gasoline and diesel price and income elasticities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 2-13.
    6. Julian A. Lampietti & Sudeshna Ghosh Banerjee & Amelia Branczik, 2007. "People and Power : Electricity Sector Reforms and the Poor in Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7175.
    7. Kristin Komives & Jon Halpern & Vivien Foster & Quentin Wodon & Roohi Abdullah, 2007. "Utility Subsidies as Social Transfers: An Empirical Evaluation of Targeting Performance," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 25(6), pages 659-679, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rentschler, Jun, 2016. "Incidence and impact: The regional variation of poverty effects due to fossil fuel subsidy reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 491-503.
    2. Fatma El-Hamidi, 2016. "Energy Subsidy Reform in Egypt: The Gender – “Energy” Poverty Nexus," Working Papers 1055, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 2016.
    3. Moshiri, Saeed, 2015. "The effects of the energy price reform on households consumption in Iran," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 177-188.
    4. Acharya, Rajesh H. & Sadath, Anver C., 2017. "Implications of energy subsidy reform in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 453-462.
    5. Asian Development Bank Institute, 2017. "Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Asia: Trends, Impacts, and Reforms - Integrative Report," Working Papers id:11807, eSocialSciences.
    6. repec:oup:renvpo:v:11:y:2017:i:1:p:138-155. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hancevic, Pedro & Cont, Walter & Navajas, Fernando, 2016. "Energy populism and household welfare," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 464-474.
    8. Adrien Vogt-Schilb & Stephane Hallegatte, 2017. "Climate Policies and Nationally Determined Contributions: Reconciling the Needed Ambition with the Political Economy," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8319, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Stephane Hallegatte & Mook Bangalore & Laura Bonzanigo & Marianne Fay & Tamaro Kane & Ulf Narloch & Julie Rozenberg & David Treguer & Adrien Vogt-Schilb, 2016. "Shock Waves," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22787.

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    Keywords

    Energy Production and Transportation; Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Economic Theory&Research; Environment and Energy Efficiency; Energy and Environment;

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