Differential effects of green tax reform over economies: A case of Korea
It is controversial whether or not green tax reform through a carbon tax has double dividend feature. The economic effects of green tax reform vary according to economies due to different preexisting conditions. Recent studies about the economic impacts of a carbon tax have noted the role of preexisting factor taxes in the second best world. The present study, however, explores the role of existing taxes on energy products in introducing a carbon tax, by employing a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model for Korea, a country that has high existing taxes on petroleum products.
Above all, I find that a carbon tax is the most efficient policy instrument among three alternative taxes—an energy tax, a carbon tax and an ad valorem tax—to reduce carbon emissions in Korea under both lump-sum tax replacement and labor tax replacement. The carbon tax, however, brings about welfare and GDP loss. The economic costs can be reduced, but cannot be completely removed by revenue recycling. Second, this study explores how existing taxes on petroleum products affect the economic cost of introducing a carbon tax, by manipulating existing taxes on petroleum products. I find that the existing taxes raise the economic costs of introducing a carbon tax. Third, this study shows that the economic costs of a carbon tax can be reduced when its revenue is returned to cut preexisting taxes on petroleum products. Thus, restructuring existing taxes on energy products plays a crucial role in introducing a carbon tax. From the specific case of the Korean economy, the present study indicates that existing taxes on not only factors but also energy products are one of the main sources of economic costs in introducing a carbon tax.