Carbon-reducing taxes and income inequality: general equilibrium evaluation of alternative energy taxation in Taiwan
Recently, several studies have been a detailed evaluation of the economic implications of energy taxation as a policy instrument to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. However, little attention has been devoted to inquiring about the economic implications of energy taxation in the newly industrialized countries (the so-called NICs). In this paper, we use a multisector, multihousehold computable general equilibrium model to assess the distributional effects of alternative energy taxation on the Taiwan economy. The counterfactual simulation technique is applied to investigate the income distribution implications of: (1) an increase in the import taxes of crude oil; and (2) an increase in the excise taxes of petroleum products. Our empirical results basing on Taiwan's data show that both energy taxes increase government revenue and the Gini coefficient, but reduce net value-added, private consumption, disposable income and equivalent variation. A raise in the Gini coefficient implies that there is a worsening in the distribution of income. The lowest income group suffers relatively large welfare and income loss, but the highest income group suffers a relatively small welfare and income loss. The distributional effects differ from household to household depending on the composition of their total consumption and the source of their factor income. Our findings reveal that the energy tax appears to be mildly regressive, there are broadly consistent with those cases of developed countries reported in previous studies.
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