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How to make a carbon tax reform progressive: The role of subsistence consumption

Klenert, David and Mattauch, Linus (2015): How to make a carbon tax reform progressive: The role of subsistence consumption.

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Abstract

A major obstacle for introducing carbon pricing are its distributional implications: climate policy is believed to be regressive. We illuminate the role of carbon-intensive subsistence consumption for the prospect of making carbon pricing progressive. The distributional impacts of a carbon tax reform depend on the revenue recycling options: we prove that lump-sum transfers proportional to income and linear income tax cuts make the reform regressive and that this is due only to subsistence consumption. By contrast, returning the revenue as uniform lump-sum transfers renders the carbon tax reform progressive.

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