Who Should Bear the Administrative Costs of an Emissions Tax

Peer Reviewed
26 March 2013

John K. Stranlund, Carlos A. Chávez

All environmental policies involve costs of implementation and management that are distinct from pollution sources’ abatement costs. In practice, regulators and sources usually share these administrative costs. We examine theoretically an optimal policy consisting of an emissions tax and the distribution of administrative costs between the government and regulated sources of pollution. Our focus is on the optimal distribution of administrative costs between polluters and the government and the optimal level of the emissions tax in relation to marginal pollution damage. We demonstrate how the policy variables affect aggregate equilibrium administrative costs and show that these effects are generally indeterminate, as is the effect of the distribution of administrative costs on aggregate emissions. Consequently, the optimal sharing of administrative costs and whether the optimal emissions tax is higher or lower than marginal damage depend on specific contexts.

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Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Stranlund, J. K., & Chávez, C. A. (2013). Who should bear the administrative costs of an emissions tax? Journal of Regulatory Economics, 44(1), 53–79. doi:10.1007/s11149-013-9216-9

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Publication | 6 August 2013