Studies in Policy Choices and Interactions
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Mikael S. Andersen, Birgitte E. Olsen, Stefan Speck, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 13: Reclaiming the ‘T’ word: ways of improving communication and public acceptance of environmental fiscal reform in Europe
This chapter examines some recent research findings from behavioural economics and looks at how these might be used to improve the way in which environmental fiscal reform (EFR) in general, and environmental taxation in particular, is designed and communicated. The premise of the chapter, which is a research output of the FRE-Communicate project, is that improved communication can enhance the prospects for the implementation of EFR by improving public understanding of its benefits and advantages in comparison with other policy instruments. Both practical experience and research have demonstrated that one of the most fundamental barriers to the implementation of EFR is a general lack of knowledge about EFR amongst policymakers, stakeholders, for example, in the business sector, the media and the general public. In response to this, the project sets out to communicate what EFR is about in an accessible way and to develop a number of different communication strategies targeting diverse audiences. This chapter will introduce current attitudes and responses to EFR and examine research into the acceptance of taxation and EFR measures, before making a series of recommendations for communications efforts in the future.
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