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Output-based rebating of carbon taxes in a neighbour's backyard: Competitiveness, leakage and welfare

Christoph Böhringer, Brita Bye, Taran Fæhn and Knut Einar Rosendahl ()

Canadian Journal of Economics, 2017, vol. 50, issue 2, 426-455

Abstract: We investigate how, in an open economy, carbon taxes combined with output-based rebating (OBR) perform in interaction with the carbon policies of a large neighbouring trading partner. Analytical results suggest that, whether the purpose of the OBR policy is to compensate firms for carbon tax burdens or to maximize welfare (accounting for global emission reductions), the OBR rate should be positive in policy-relevant cases. Numerical simulations for Canada, with the US as the neighbouring trading partner, indicate that the impact of US policies on the OBR rate will depend crucially on the purpose of the Canadian OBR policies. If, for a given US carbon policy, Canada's aim is to restore the competitiveness of domestic emission-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) firms to the same level as before the introduction of its own carbon taxation, we find that the necessary domestic OBR rates will be insensitive to the foreign carbon policies. However, if not only the Canadian carbon tax but also an equally high US tax is introduced, compensatory Canadian OBR rates will be up to 50% lower, depending on the sector and on US OBR policy. If the policy objective is to increase economy-wide allocative efficiency (welfare) of Canadian policies by accounting for carbon leakage, the US policies will have only a minor downward pressure on desirable OBR rates in Canada. Practical choices of OBR rates hardly affect overall domestic economic performance; thus, output-based rebating qualifies as an instrument for compensating EITE industries without a large sacrifice in terms of economy-wide allocative efficiency.

JEL-codes: Q43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Journal Article: Output‐based rebating of carbon taxes in a neighbour's backyard: Competitiveness, leakage and welfare (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Output-Based Rebating of Carbon Taxes in the Neighbor's Backyard. Competitiveness, Leakage and Welfare (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Output-based rebating of carbon taxes in the neighbor's backyard. Competitiveness, leakage and welfare (2014) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:50:y:2017:i:2:p:426-455