NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits

Severin Borenstein, Lucas W. Davis

NBER Working Paper No. 21437
Issued in July 2015
NBER Program(s):   EEE   PE

Since 2006, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other "clean energy" investments. We use tax return data to examine the socioeconomic characteristics of program recipients. We find that these tax expenditures have gone predominantly to higher-income Americans. The bottom three income quintiles have received about 10% of all credits, while the top quintile has received about 60%. The most extreme is the program aimed at electric vehicles, where we find that the top income quintile has received about 90% of all credits. By comparing to previous work on the distributional consequences of pricing greenhouse gas emissions, we conclude that tax credits are likely to be much less attractive on distributional grounds than market mechanisms to reduce GHGs.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21437

Published: The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits, Severin Borenstein, Lucas W. Davis. in Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 30, Brown. 2016

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Borenstein w21342 The Private Net Benefits of Residential Solar PV: The Role of Electricity Tariffs, Tax Incentives and Rebates
Sallee, West, and Fan w21441 Do Consumers Recognize the Value of Fuel Economy? Evidence from Used Car Prices and Gasoline Price Fluctuations
Lau and Rosen w21432 Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?
Card, Kluve, and Weber w21431 What Works? A Meta Analysis of Recent Active Labor Market Program Evaluations
Cascio and Narayan w21359 Who Needs a Fracking Education? The Educational Response to Low-Skill Biased Technological Change
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us