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Les Ecotaxes dans les pays de l'OCDE: Un premier bilan

Jean-Philippe Barde

Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), 1998, vol. 134, issue III, 297-315

Abstract: The use of environmental taxes as an instrument for environmental policy has developed considerably in several OECD countries. These «green» tax reforms, implemented in particular in Nordic countries and in the Netherlands, consist in adapting existing taxes, in particular on energy and transports, in an «ecological» way (e.g. by including an S02 or a C02 tax into the taxation of fuels). Other specific ecotaxes, on pesticides, waste, batteries etc. are also applied. Implementing such taxes requires certain conditions. First, existing tax distortions, including distortionary subsidies detrimental to the environment, must be removed. Second, the possible regressive and competitive impacts of these taxes must be effectively dealt with. How to use the tax revenue is a crucial issue: first, a «greening» of taxes without increasing the tax pressure is desirable; second, the question of whether a tax shift from labour to pollution would increase employment is strongly debated; several countries have already chosen to follow this path. Available data suggest that environmental taxes have triggered significant pollution reductions, in particular in Sweden.

Date: 1998
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