Steven E. Sexton

Sanford School of Public Policy
201 Science Drive, 184 Rubinstein Hall
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2017Distributional Impacts of Energy Taxes
with William A. Pizer: w23318
Despite popularity among economists for their efficiency, energy pollution taxes enjoy less political support than standards-based regulation because of common perceptions that they burden the poor relative to the rich. However, the literature on pollution tax incidence and consumption surveys in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, suggest energy taxes need not be as regressive as often assumed. This paper demonstrates that the incidence of such taxes varies according to the energy commodities that are taxed, the physical, social and climatic characteristics of jurisdictions in which they are implemented, and how the revenue is used. It is also shown that the variation in household energy expenditure within income groups is greater than variation across income groups in man...
March 2017Vertical and Horizontal Redistributions from a Carbon Tax and Rebate
with Julie Anne Cronin, Don Fullerton: w23250
Because electricity is a higher fraction of spending for those with low income, carbon taxes are believed to be regressive. Many argue, however, that their revenues can be used to offset the regressivity. We assess these claims by employing data on 322,000 families in the U.S. Treasury’s Distribution Model to study vertical redistributions between rich and poor, as well as horizontal redistributions among families with common incomes but heterogeneous energy intensity of consumption (different home heating and cooling demands). Accounting for the statutory indexing of transfers, and measuring impacts on annual consumption as a proxy for permanent income, we find that the carbon tax burden is progressive, rising across deciles as a fraction of consumption. The rebate of revenue via transfer...
January 2011How Agricultural Biotechnology Boosts Food Supply and Accomodates Biofuels
with David Zilberman: w16699
Increased global demand for biofuels is placing increased pressure on agricultural systems at a time when traditional sources of yield improvements have been mostly exhausted, generating concerns about the future of food prices. This paper estimates the impact of global adoption of genetically engineered (GE) seeds on food supply by exploiting the spatial and temporal variation in the adoption of GE crops to identify the average yield effect due to GE technologies among adopters. The yield gains range from 65% for GE cotton to 12.4% for soybeans and appear to be higher in the developing world than in developed countries. The authors simulate food prices during the 2008 food crisis without GE-seed-induced yield gains. Genetically engineered crops appear to play an important role in arbitra...
Land for Food and Fuel Production: The Role of Agricultural Biotechnology
with David Zilberman
in The Intended and Unintended Effects of U.S. Agricultural and Biotechnology Policies, Joshua S. Graff Zivin and Jeffrey M. Perloff, editors
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