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The Strategic and Effective Dimensions of the Border Tax Adjustment

Lisa Anouliès ()

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2015, vol. 17, issue 6, 824-847

Abstract: Between 2001 and 2011, the Kyoto Protocol has experienced defections of two countries that took part in its negotiation and accounted for around 44% of all parties' emissions. The border tax adjustment, a tax levied on imports to reproduce domestic taxation on similar goods, is advocated to prevent such compliance failures as well as to support unilateral pollution regulations by mitigating firms' competitiveness losses and carbon leakages. The paper investigates whether this trade instrument can constitute a decentralized solution to achieve the first-best in a noncooperative framework. It develops a two-country two-firm reciprocal-market model of trade with global pollution and country heterogeneity. Countries' interactions are studied following a noncooperative game theory approach, for two scenarios defined by the possibility to implement a border tax adjustment to sanction unilateral deviation from the cooperative situation. The paper predicts first that this opportunity modifies the countries' choices of strategies toward more compliance; second that among the strategic and effective dimensions of the border tax adjustment, only the former allows to achieve the first-best; finally that the border tax adjustment fosters countries' participation in the cooperative international environmental agreement.

Date: 2015
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