Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Governments must explain the benefits of eco taxes

01.12.2008
“People do not understand environmental taxes. If politicians don’t provide better information about how these taxes work, it might not be politically feasible to implement them”, says Steffen Kallbekken, researcher at Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO).

He continues: “Without environmental taxes it will be much harder to meet climate targets”.

Kallbekken recently completed a Ph.D. on environmental tax schemes, where he looked at the trade-off between political feasibility and economic efficiency.

In a laboratory experiment, participants voted on different environmental tax schemes. They were asked which alternative would give the highest welfare: A situation with an environmental tax in place, or a situation without such a tax.

“By improving the environment and providing tax revenues that can be used to benefit the public, environmental taxes can increase overall welfare”, says Kallbekken. The experiment was designed to reflect this, so that imposing the environmental tax would increase welfare.

However, only 23 percent answered correctly that the tax would increase welfare. Fully 45 percent believed that the highest welfare would be gained if no tax was implemented.

“There seems to be a big divide between what economists recommend and what people find acceptable. A main reason for this seems to be that people do not understand how taxes can increase welfare”, says Kallbekken.

“Earmarking is not a popular tool amongst economists because it is not efficient. However, it looks like it sometimes can be worth considering because it can increase the political feasibility of taxation”, Kallbekken explains.

The congestion charge in Stockholm is an example of how an environmental tax can lead to increased welfare: During a trial period, traffic to the city fell by 22 percent. Travel times during rushour dropped by nearly a third, accidents with injuries fell, and emissions fell by 10 to 14 percent, according to Lindsey (2007).

“The congestion tax was very controversial before the trial period. However, as people experienced the positive effects of the congestion tax during the trial period they adopted a more favourable view of the tax”, says Kallbekken.

Polls found that the number of people likely to vote in favour of permanently introducing the tax increased by 18 percent during the trial period.

In the actual referendum after the trial period, the tax received a 52.5 percent majority, and the tax was permanently implemented.

“The Stockholm example shows that demonstrating the benefits of environmental taxes can substantially increase public support”, says Kallbekken.

This is in line with Kallbekken’s studies. When investigating how politicians should respond to the public’s beliefs about environmental taxation, he found that politicians need to give thourough information about how such taxes lead to higher welfare.

“The politicans need to inform the public much better about the environmental benefit of taxation, and they also need to show clearly and credible how the revenues will be used. A trial period can be one way to give the public this information by letting them personally experience the benefits”, says Kallbekken.

“If informing the public is not sufficient to get the necessary political support, politicians should consider different kinds of earmarking systems”, he concludes.

Steffen Kallbekken | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cicero.uio.no/home/index_e.aspx

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>