Is carbon pricing regressive? Insights from a recursive-dynamic CGE analysis with heterogeneous households for Austria
Gabriel Bachner and
Karl W. Steininger
Energy Economics, 2021, vol. 104, issue C
We explore the macroeconomic and distributional impacts of unilateral carbon pricing in Austrian economic sectors, which are not covered by the EU emission trading scheme ETS, under various assumptions of revenue usage. We use a recursive-dynamic computable general equilibrium model with twelve groups of private households, differentiated by income quartile and location of residence. Pricing of non-ETS CO2 emissions without any targeted compensation of households turns out to be progressive (when measured in equivalent variation, or welfare) with households living in the periphery being affected the most. This outcome is explained by the dominating progressive factor income effect, which works against regressive consumer price impacts. Considering the positive contribution to welfare from increased public goods provision, low-income households are even better off than without carbon pricing. We compare the revenue usage options ‘no targeted compensation’ with either unconditional or revenue-neutral ‘eco-bonus per capita payments’ as well as revenue-neutral cuts in either ‘labor tax rates’ or ‘value added tax rates.’ We discuss our results from a Utilitarian, Rawlsian and polarization-averse equity perspective. Applying equal weights to the criteria ‘environmental effectiveness’, ‘cost effectiveness’, ‘public budget’ and ‘welfare’, Rawlsian decision makers would prefer the no targeted compensation option. Otherwise, the revenue usage option of revenue-neutral cuts in labor tax rates balance best investigated multiple criteria.
Keywords: Carbon pricing; CO2 pricing; Distributional effects; Revenue use; Computable general equilibrium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C68 H22 Q50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:104:y:2021:i:c:s0140988321005181
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