Distributional Impacts of Energy Taxes
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 many cases. These horizontal equity impacts are reviewed, as are their implications for policy making.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
William A Pizer & Steven Sexton, 2019. "The Distributional Impacts of Energy Taxes," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, vol 13(1), pages 104-123. citation courtesy of