Hard Coal Subsidies: A Never-Ending Story?

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2007

See all articles by Manuel Frondel

Manuel Frondel

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ; Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)

Rainer Kambeck

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen)

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

In Germany, hard coal has been subsidized for almost half a century. Despite the declining significance of hard coal production for the domestic labor market, the magnitude of subsidies increased until the middle of the last decade. In 1996, they peaked at 6.7 billion Euros. While German hard coal subsidies have been shrinking to 2.7 billion Euros. In 2005, it is very likely that they will be extended well into the next decade and even beyond. This article discusses the feeble arguments raised by the proponents of hard coal subsidization in Germany and other EU countries. Most importantly, in addition to the drain imposed on public budgets, these subsidies imply a substantial opportunity cost, leading funds away from alternative, more beneficial public investments. From a social welfare perspective, we therefore recommend the rapid abolition of these subsidies not only in Germany, where in nominal terms the accumulated amount of subsidies has now by far exceeded 130 billion Euros, but all across Europe.

Keywords: Energy policy, energy security, coal mining

JEL Classification: Q28, Q42, Q58

Suggested Citation

Frondel, Manuel and Kambeck, Rainer and Schmidt, Christoph M., Hard Coal Subsidies: A Never-Ending Story? (November 2006). RWI Discussion Paper No. 53. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=957572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.957572

Manuel Frondel (Contact Author)

RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
45128 Essen
Germany

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) ( email )

Universitätsstraße 150
Bochum, NRW 44780
Germany

Rainer Kambeck

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstraße 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany
++49 201 8149-227 (Phone)
++49 201 8149-236 (Fax)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)

GC 2/150
Universitätsstr. 150
D-44780 Bochum
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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