Distributional effects of a CO2 tax in Austria

LIFE presents analyses at international conferences

Distributional effects of a CO2 tax in Austria

In June/July 2021, LIFE was represented at three high-profile international conferences with its analysis of the distributional effects of a CO2 tax in Austria. Anna Eisner and Veronika Kulmer presented the results of a publication on the topic of "Distributional effects of CO2 taxes taking into account household heterogeneity". This publication was written in joint work with Dominik Kortschak within the framework of the ACRP project BALANCE.

The first in the row was the International Energy Workshop (IEW), which this year was held as an online event, as all international conferences at present. In the session "Households and Energy" on 17 June 2021, Anna Eisner presented a paper on the topic of "Distributional effects of CO2 taxes considering household heterogeneity", which was developed within the ACRP project BALANCE. The results she presented show that the welfare effects of a CO2 tax depend on different aspects:

  • the energy good taxed,
  • the socio-demographic household characteristics
  • and the building characteristics.

Without compensatory measures such as government transfers, CO2 taxes are regressive, i.e. poorer households are much more affected and certain population segments, depending on socio-demographic characteristics and building characteristics are particularly vulnerable.

This shows the need for target group-specific reimbursement measures. For this purpose, different variants, for example according to income, household size or region were examined and evaluated with regard to fairness, regressivity and cost-effectiveness. In addition, different transfer types that take these characteristics into account were tested and compared. Transfers that go beyond income as an indicator and target particularly vulnerable groups achieve the biggest effect.

These exciting findings were also presented and discussed by Anna Eisner in the session "Climate change and redistributive effects" of the Annual Conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EARE), which took place from 23-25 June.

The final event of the conference marathon is the Conference of Economic Modelling (EcoMod), which takes place from July 7-9, where Veronika Kulmer will focus on the econometric model and present the policy implications to the international audience in the session "Energy and environmental policy".