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Hope Ashiabor

Chapter 1 provides a general overview of the coverage of the book. It sets the stage for the overall analysis in the book by outlining the extent to which spending instruments are used in environmental policy when compared with market-based instruments. It also outlines the key themes and issues that will be examined in the book and explains the approach that will be adopted in carrying out the analysis.

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Hope Ashiabor

To uncover the origins, nature and scope of tax expenditures, Chapter 2 sets the context for the analysis by embarking on a comprehensive review of the literature on its use as a tool for the implementation of government policy. Towards this end, the first part examines Surrey’s original formulation of the tax expenditure concept which highlights the need for tax expenditure analysis as the basis for fiscal transparency and for efficient resource allocation. In the second part of this chapter, the issues outlined above will be examined in the wider context of the role that the substantive goals of a good tax system play in influencing policy instrument choice. Intermingled with this will be a detailed consideration of the complementary role that the elements of good design play in determining the efficacy of tax expenditure programmes.

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Hope Ashiabor

The analysis in Chapter 3 focusses on the use of tax expenditures in the environmental policy context. The analysis starts off with an examination of the theoretical and legal basis for the use of tax expenditure programmes in this context. In extending the discussion from Chapter 2, it highlights some of the characteristics and limitations of tax expenditures that ought to be taken into consideration when choosing a policy instrument. It revisits the debate on the policy-instrument mix issue in the environmental context, in the wider context of considerations that have to be taken into account in ensuring that the spending instrument chosen is effective.

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Hope Ashiabor

There is a well-developed body of economic theory and empirical research in support of the role that tax and direct expenditures play in addressing positive externalities. Chapter 4 examines the use of tax and direct expenditures in fostering behavioural change. The cleantech sector is used as a case study to demonstrate how government spending fosters innovation and the take up of research and development. The significance of the object of the case study in this chapter is underscored by the fact that in the environmental policy context, innovation is not only a central driver in greening growth but also a key plank to any adaptation strategy.

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Hope Ashiabor

Attempts by governments to rein-in ballooning public spending budgets makes expenditure cuts on environmental programmes the first casualty of the process. This has given environmental programmes a stop-start nature and undermined policy certainty and effectiveness in the process. Chapter 5 explores the possibility of minimising such disruptions by undertaking a critical evaluation of alternative approaches to the implementation of public expenditures. Towards this end, the analysis in this chapter revisits the earmarking debate and examines the question of the extent to which the hypothecation of revenues from environmental taxes and charges can be relied on as a source of a secured stream of funds to finance environmental policy programmes on a sustained basis.

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Hope Ashiabor

When tax expenditures are used in the environmental policy context to either provide preferences to certain activities or to certain taxpayers, they have the tendency of giving rise to unintended consequences that manifest in negative environmental outcomes and economic inefficiencies. Chapter 6 examines the challenges encountered in re-structuring subsidies that have become perverse from an environmental policy perspective. The pervasive dimensions of the challenges encountered in this context makes a comprehensive examination of the issues in its entire spectrum is a matter that goes beyond the scope of this book. Hence a forensic examination of employee car subsidies will be used as a proxy to highlight some of the challenges involved in the wider context of dismantling harmful subsidies in the transport sector. The analysis will be carried out in the context of a comparative jurisdictional study of the various approaches adopted in restructuring the perverse outcomes of employee car subsidies. Some of the wider lessons of implementing subsidy reform are then extrapolated from the experiences of the countries examined.

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Hope Ashiabor

In concluding, Chapter 7 re-assesses the extent to which tax expenditure analysis has achieved its mission. It examines the evolution of tax expenditures in paving the way for new policy instruments into the environmental policy space. It then evaluates the extent to which tax expenditure analysis has played a role in shaping these new instruments and approaches.

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Hope Ashiabor

This timely book provides a critical examination of the ways in which tax expenditures can be best used in order to enhance their efficacy as instruments for the implementation of environmental policy.  
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Michael Rodi and Hope Ashiabor