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Greening the Budget

Budgetary Policies for Environmental Improvement

Edited by J. Peter Clinch, Kai Schlegelmilch, Rolf-Ulrich Sprenger and Ursula Triebswetter

Greening the Budget regards the fundamental cause of environmental degradation as government and market failure and proposes the use of budgets as an instrument of environmental policy to rectify this problem. The book focuses on the elements of the public budget which currently affect the environment and explores the scope for greening both revenue and expenditure through specific measures.
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Chapter 5: Evaluating environmental taxes: recent experiences and proposals for the future

Budgetary Policies for Environmental Improvement

Stefan Speck and Paul Ekins


Stefan Speck and Paul Ekins 1. INTRODUCTION While a number of European countries have introduced environmental taxes and charges in recent years, analyses of the economic and fiscal implications, and evaluations of the environmental effectiveness of these implemented market-based instruments are not very numerous. This is mainly due to the methodological difficulties involved in carrying out such analyses and due to the lack of appropriate data. However, evaluation studies of economic instruments in environmental policies can be of great importance in the political discussion, in particular when considering whether such economic instruments should be introduced in the future. This chapter is in two parts. The first part focuses on the methodology of analysing the environmental effectiveness of economic instruments. Some studies are then discussed which have evaluated the environmental benefits of already implemented environmental taxes in European countries. These reports mainly use an ex-post approach to study the economic and financial implications, as well as the environmental impacts. The difficulties encountered in such evaluation studies are briefly highlighted. In the second part of the chapter proposals that have recently being made by Green Tax Commissions and others in several European countries are discussed, including particularly a recent proposal for an ecological tax reform in the UK. The environmental implications of this proposal are explained through an ex-ante assessment of the potential environmental benefits of different proposed economic instruments. 2. 2.1 EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL TAXES1 General Rationale A growing number of European countries have implemented market-based instruments, such as taxes and...

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