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
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences