On the Acceptability of the Ambient Tax Mechanism: An Experimental Investigation

22 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2009

See all articles by Anthony Ziegelmeyer

Anthony Ziegelmeyer

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics; Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

Kene Boun My

University of Strasbourg - Bureau of Economic Theory and Application (BETA); University of Strasbourg

Francois Cochard

University of Burgundy Franche-Comté

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2009

Abstract

There is a common belief among nonpoint source pollution managers that ambient taxes are likely to raise acceptability problems. In this paper, we empirically assess the acceptability of ambient taxes. Concretely, we ask participants in an experiment to play the role of polluters who choose between (A) an ambient tax scheme and (B) an individual tax system (polluters are heterogeneous, with small, medium and large capacity polluters). In case (A), polluters' payoff depends on total emissions and on natural variability whereas in case (B) polluters earn a sure payoff. The sure payoff level reflects polluters' maximal profit under the individual tax system and ranges from 40% to 95% of polluters' expected payoff under the ambient tax scheme if the social optimum is achieved. For a given sure payoff level, we take the percentage of polluters preferring the ambient tax to the surepayoff as an indicator of the acceptability of the ambient tax scheme. We find that, though the rate of acceptance decreases with the level of the sure payoff, the acceptance rate remains high even when the sure payoff is almost as high as the social optimum payoff and large polluters are less likely to accept the ambient tax mechanism than small and medium polluters. Our experimental results mitigate the common belief that ambient taxes are unacceptable. Still, the acceptability of the instrument could be low in groups of highly heterogeneous polluters.

Keywords: Nonpoint Source Pollution, Group Decision Making, Experiments, Acceptability of fiscal instruments

JEL Classification: C92, H3, Q5

Suggested Citation

Ziegelmeyer, Anthony and Boun My, Kene and Cochard, Francois, On the Acceptability of the Ambient Tax Mechanism: An Experimental Investigation (March 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1373502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1373502

Anthony Ziegelmeyer

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics ( email )

Kahlaische Strasse 10
D-07745 Jena, 07745
Germany

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School ( email )

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

Kene Boun My

University of Strasbourg - Bureau of Economic Theory and Application (BETA) ( email )

France

University of Strasbourg ( email )

61, avenue de la foret noire
4, rue Blaise Pascal
Strasbourg, Alsace 3000
France

Francois Cochard (Contact Author)

University of Burgundy Franche-Comté ( email )

1 rue Claude Goudimel
25030 Besancon cedex, DOUBS 25000
France

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