nep-ene New Economics Papers
on Energy Economics
Issue of 2006‒08‒19
three papers chosen by
Roger Fouquet
Imperial College, UK

  1. On the Robustness of Robustness Checks of the Environmental Kuznets Curve By Marzio Galeotti; Matteo Manera; Alessandro Lanza
  2. The Diverse Structures of Passenger Car Taxation in Europe and the EU Commissions Proposal for Reform By Uwe Kunert; Hartmut Kuhfeld
  3. Environmental Taxes in Spain: A Missed Opportunity By Alberto Gago; Xavier Labandeira; Fidel Picos; Miguel Rodríguez

  1. By: Marzio Galeotti; Matteo Manera (University of Milan-Bicocca); Alessandro Lanza (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: Since its first inception in the debate on the relationship between environment and growth in 1992, the Environmental Kuznets Curve has been subject of continuous and intense scrutiny. The literature can be roughly divided in two historical phases. Initially, after the seminal contributions, additional work aimed to extend the investigation to new pollutants and to verify the existence of an inverted-U shape as well as assessing the value of the turning point. The following phase focused instead on the robustness of the empirical relationship, particularly with respect to the omission of relevant explanatory variables other than GDP, alternative datasets, functional forms, and grouping of the countries examined. The most recent line of investigation criticizes the Environmental Kuznets Curve on more fundamental grounds, in that it stresses the lack of sufficient statistical testing of the empirical relationship and questions the very existence of the notion of Environmental Kuznets Curve. Attention is in particular drawn on the stationarity properties of the series involved - per capita emissions or concentrations and per capita GDP - and, in case of presence of unit roots, on the cointegration property that must be present for the Environmental Kuznets Curve to be a well-defined concept. Only at that point can the researcher ask whether the long-run relationship exhibits an inverted-U pattern. On the basis of panel integration and cointegration tests for sulphur, Stern (2002, 2003) and Perman and Stern (1999, 2003) have presented evidence and forcefully stated that the Environmental Kuznets Curve does not exist. In this paper we ask whether similar strong conclusions can be arrived at when carrying out tests of fractional panel integration and cointegration. As an example we use the controversial case of carbon dioxide emissions. The results show that more EKCs come back into life relative to traditional integration/cointegration tests. However, we confirm that the EKC remains a fragile concept.
    Keywords: Environment, Growth, CO2 Emissions, Panel Data, Fractional Integration, Panel Cointegration Tests,
    Date: 2006–05–18
  2. By: Uwe Kunert; Hartmut Kuhfeld
    Abstract: In this study we first analyze duties on passenger cars in 27 European countries. Taxes and fees related to the registration, ownership and use of cars are assessed differently across Europe, and their rates vary significantly. We find that the annual taxes levied on specific types of cars differ across countries by a factor of up to four, while the various kinds of duties levied account for extremely diverse shares of the entire car-related tax burden and give rise to very different ratios of fixed and variable components in the taxes levied. Given the importance of taxation systems for market and competitive conditions, the Euro-pean Commission is seeking to achieve reciprocal alignment of the various systems. The Commission has also proposed that greater importance be given to environmental criteria in the assessment of vehicle related taxes. Effectively in some countries, the registration taxes represent a significant burden on the acquisition of new vehicles; this factor reduces market transparency and may mean that taxes are levied twice. Only in a few countries' tax schemes is fuel consumption taken into account, and then only to a marginal degree. It is thus neces-sary to modify and simplify the tax systems in Europe, because it is crucial that the traffic sector contribute more to climate protection, and because motor vehicles impair local air quality. In this context, the overall structure of the various charges to passenger cars should be rebalanced, with CO2 emissions not being the sole focus.
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Alberto Gago; Xavier Labandeira; Fidel Picos; Miguel Rodríguez (Universidade de Vigo)
    Abstract: In this chapter we describe and assess the Spanish experience with environmental taxes in the last several decades, and formulate several suggestions for future developments in this area of tax reform. We first deal with the theoretical and policy contexts for environmental taxes and the so-called green tax reforms, to proceed with an enumeration of actions by the different levels of government in Spain . We show how the central and local governments' stand has not been favorable to the use of these tax instruments due to political beliefs and legal constraints, which have led to a poor energy and environmental performance in comparative European terms. At the same time, the lack of interest of central and local governments in such taxes has fostered an intense regional design and implementation in this field, mainly on emissions to air and waters. These applications share positive and negative aspects, as they contribute to internalize negative environmental effects, but often do so in an inefficient way with a clear revenue-raising component. We conclude that a serious and comprehensive use of environmental taxes in Spain should take into account optimal jurisdictional allocation and the presence of new regulatory approaches in environmental policies, with a focus on some specific fields such as waste, transport and tourism.
    Keywords: Environmental Taxes,Spain,Tax reform. environmental policies
    Date: 2006–01–01

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