An egalitarian carbon tax: revenue-neutral and dual policy package

WEA (World Economics Association) Commentaries 11 (3):2-4 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article I maintain that a progressive and leftist carbon tax should be revenue-neutral through a dual policy package: first, it should use some revenues to offset price increases for the poor and middle classes; second, it should use the remaining part of revenues to lower taxes on labour income (both employed and self-employed income) for those below a middle-income threshold. I will briefly examine three reasons why such a revenue-neutral and dual-package carbon tax (RN-DP-CT) could (and should) become central in the political agenda of the European Left – even though much of what I will suggest can reasonably hold also with respect to other countries. First, the tax wage on labour in the euro area is one of the highest in the world. Second, the revenue-neutral and dual policy package carbon tax will tax more capital that yields income without a proportional increase in labour demand, rather than capital that creates new job opportunities. Third, we live in societies that are highly unequal, hence I see no moral reason why a carbon tax reform should not aim, among other things, to take wealth away from the richest.

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Fausto Corvino
University of Gothenburg

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