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The Strategic Value of Carbon Tariffs

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  • Christoph Böhringer

    () (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre & ZenTra)

  • Jared C. Carbone

    () (University of Calgary and Resources for the Future, Department of Economics)

  • Thomas F. Rutherford

    () (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Abstract

Unilateral carbon policies are inefficient due to the fact that they generally involve emission reductions in countries with high marginal abatement costs and because they are subject to carbon leakage. In this paper, we ask whether the use of carbon tariffs—tariffs on the carbon embodied in imported goods—might lower the cost of achieving a given reduction in world emissions. Specifically, we explore the role tariffs might play as an inducement to unregulated countries adopting emission controls of their own. We use an applied general equilibrium model to generate the payoffs of a policy game. In the game, a coalition of countries regulates its own emissions and chooses whether or not to employ carbon tariffs against unregulated countries. Unregulated countries may respond by adopting emission regulations of their own, retaliating against the carbon tariffs by engaging in a trade war, or by pursuing no policy at all. In the unique Nash equilibrium produced by this game, the use of carbon tariffs by coalition countries is credible. China and Russia respond by adopting binding abatement targets to avoid being subjected to them. Other unregulated countries retaliate. Cooperation by China and Russia lowers the global welfare cost of achieving a 10% reduction in global emissions by half relative to the case where coalition countries undertake all of this abatement on their own.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Böhringer & Jared C. Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2013. "The Strategic Value of Carbon Tariffs," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 26 / 2014, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Jan 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:26
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    File URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2375815
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Christoph Bohringer & Jared Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, "undated". "Embodied Carbon Tariffs," Working Papers 2013-24, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 11 Oct 2013.
    6. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    7. Azusa OKAGAWA & Kanemi BAN, 2008. "Estimation of substitution elasticities for CGE models," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
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    9. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
    10. Mustafa H. Babiker & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Border Measures in Subglobal Climate Agreements," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 99-126.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:149:y:2017:i:c:p:35-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Abrell, Jan & Rausch, Sebastian, 2017. "Combining price and quantity controls under partitioned environmental regulation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 226-242.
    3. Bretschger, Lucas & Lechthaler, Filippo & Rausch, Sebastian & Zhang, Lin, 2017. "Knowledge diffusion, endogenous growth, and the costs of global climate policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 47-72.
    4. repec:eee:resene:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:51-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christoph Böhringer & Jan Schneider & Emmanuel Asane-Otoo, 2016. "Trade In Carbon And The Effectiveness Of Carbon Tariffs," Working Papers V-388-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2016.
    6. Larch, Mario & Wanner, Joschka, 2017. "Carbon tariffs: An analysis of the trade, welfare, and emission effects," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 195-213.
    7. Christoph Boehringer & Thomas Fox Rutherford, 2017. "Paris after Trump: An inconvenient insight," Working Papers V-400-17, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate policy; border tax adjustments; carbon leakage; strategic retaliation; applied general equilibrium model;

    JEL classification:

    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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