The Incidence of Carbon Taxes in U.S. Manufacturing: Lessons from Energy Cost Pass-Through
50 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 15, 2017
This paper studies how changes in energy input costs for U.S. manufacturers affect the relative welfare of manufacturing producers and consumers (i.e. incidence). In doing so, we develop a partial equilibrium methodology to estimate the incidence of input taxes that can simultaneously account for three determinants of incidence that are typically studied in isolation: incomplete pass-through of input costs, differences in industry competitiveness, and factor substitution amongst inputs used for production. We apply this methodology to a set of U.S. manufacturing industries for which we observe plant-level unit prices and input choices. We find that about 70 percent of energy price-driven changes in input costs are passed through to consumers. We combine industry-specific pass-through rates with estimates of industry competitiveness to show that the share of welfare cost borne by consumers is 25-75 percent smaller (and the share borne by producers is correspondingly larger) than models featuring complete pass-through and perfect competition would suggest.
Keywords: Pass-through, Incidence, Energy prices, Productivity, Climate change
JEL Classification: H22, H23, Q40, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation