NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Ann Wolverton

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Working Papers

March 2011Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon for Use in U.S. Federal Rulemakings: A Summary and Interpretation
with Michael Greenstone, Elizabeth Kopits: w16913
The United States Government recently concluded a year-long process to develop a range of values representing the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, commonly referred to as the social cost of carbon (SCC). These values are currently used in benefit-cost analyses to assess potential federal regulations. For 2010, the central value of the SCC is $21 per ton of CO2 emissions and sensitivity analyses are to be conducted at $5, $35, and $65 (2007$). This paper summarizes the methodology and process used to develop the SCC values, complemented with our own commentary about how the SCC can be used to inform regulatory decisions and areas where further research would be particularly useful.
December 2003The Two-Part Instrument in a Second-Best World
with Don Fullerton: w10140
The standard theory that the first-best tax on pollution is equal to marginal environmental damages has been extended in two directions. First, many polluting activities are difficult to tax because they are not market transactions, and so recent papers have shown that the same effects can be achieved by use of a two-part instrument a tax on one market transaction such as output or income and a subsidy to a different market transaction that is a clean alternative to pollution. It is a generalization of a deposit-refund system. Second, a different literature concerns the second-best optimal pollution tax in the presence of other tax distortions. Here, we combine the two extensions by looking at the second-best two-part instrument (2PI). When government needs revenue, is the deposit large...
January 2000Two Generalizations of a Deposit-Refund System
with Don Fullerton: w7505
This paper suggests two generalizations of the deposit-refund idea. In the first, we apply the idea not just to solid waste materials, but to any waste from production or consumption including wastes that may be solid, gaseous, or liquid. Using a simple general equilibrium model, we derive the optimal combination of a tax on a purchased commodity and subsidy to a clean' activity (such as emission abatement, recycling, or disposal in a sanitary landfill). This two-part instrument' is equivalent to a Pigovian tax on the dirty' activity (such as emissions, dumping, or litter). In the second generalization, we consider the case where government must use distorting taxes on labor and capital incomes. To help meet the revenue requirement, would the optimal deposit be raised and the refund...
April 1997The Case for a Two-Part Instrument: Presumptive Tax and Environmental Subsidy
with Don Fullerton: w5993
This paper builds two simple general equilibrium models to demonstrate the equivalence between the Pigovian tax and the combination of a presumptive tax and an environmental subsidy. A presumptive tax is a tax that is imposed under the presumption that all production uses a dirty technology or all consumption goods become waste. The environmental subsidy is then provided only to the extent that production uses a cleaner technology or that consumption goods are recycled. To analyze the usefulness of the tax-subsidy combination, we review conceptual considerations regarding its implementation and practical considerations regarding its actual use throughout the world. While the tax-subsidy combination is increasingly being used, in the form of a deposit-refund system, we argue that more fle...

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