Optimal Fiscal Policy and the Environment

28 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006

See all articles by Jenny E. Ligthart

Jenny E. Ligthart

Tilburg University - CentER, Department of Economics; University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: September 1998

Abstract

The paper studies the setting of optimal fiscal policy in a second-best world with environmental externalities. The optimal second-best pollution tax is shown to lie below the first-best Pigovian tax, particularly if substitution between labor and polluting intermediate inputs is easy, the labor supply curve is more elastic, and preexisting taxes are large. The optimal level of public abatement is derived from the modified Samuelson rule and is larger if society cares more for the environment, public funds are inexpensive, and public abatement is relatively productive. The analysis also shows that the Samuelson rule should be revised if allowance is made for nonseparabilities in preferences.

Keywords: abatement, marginal cost of public funds, pollution taxation, public goods, Samuelson rule, second-best

JEL Classification: E62, H21, H41, Q28

Suggested Citation

Ligthart, Jenny E., Optimal Fiscal Policy and the Environment (September 1998). IMF Working Paper, Vol. , pp. 1-28, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=882717

Jenny E. Ligthart (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - CentER, Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 8755 (Phone)
+31 13 466 4032 (Fax)

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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