Sebastian Renner / Jann Lay / Hannes Greve

Household Welfare and CO2 Emission Impacts of Energy and Carbon Taxes in Mexico

GIGA Working Paper, No. 301, April 2017

We analyse the effects of environmental taxes on welfare and carbon emissions at the household level for the case of Mexico. The integrated welfare‐environmental analysis, which is based on a censored energy consumer demand system, extends previous work in two ways. First, the estimation of a full matrix of substitution elasticities allows us to test the necessity of incorporating second‐order effects into the welfare analysis. Second, the substitution elasticities derived from the demand system are used to estimate the shortrun CO2 emission‐reduction potential. We find that first‐order approximations of welfare effects provide reasonable estimates, particularly for carbon taxes. Analog to evidence in other low‐ and middle‐income countries, the taxation of all energy items is found to be regressive, with the exception of motor fuels. The inclusion of CH4 and N2O in a carbon tax regime comes with particularly regressive impacts because of its strong effects on food prices. The analysis of the emission implications of different tax scenarios indicates that short‐run emission reductions at the household level can be substantial – though the effects depend on how revenue is recycled. This effectiveness combined with moderate and manageable adverse distributional impacts renders the carbon tax a preferred mitigation instrument. Considering the large effect of food price increases on poverty and the limited additional emission‐saving potential, the inclusion of CH4 and N2O in a carbon tax regime is not advisable.

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GIGA Authors

Sebastian Renner is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen and a research fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). His research interests are at the intersection of environmental and development issues, dealing with questions of poverty, the distributional impacts of climate policy, and the ecological-economic trade-offs that result from human development.

Apl. Prof. Dr. Jann Lay heads the “Growth and Development” research programme at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). He is also an adjunct professor of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen. His work ­focuses on various facets of economic development, including firm dynamics and ­labour markets, poverty and the distributional impact of economic reforms; the ­impacts of commercial agricultural expansion; and issues related to energy, ­climate, and development.

Hannes Greve

Research Fellow / Doctoral Student

Hannes Greve is a research fellow at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs Studies and a doctoral student at the University of Göttingen.

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Large-Scale Farms in Zambia: Locational Patterns and Spillovers to Smallholder Agriculture

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Responsible Large-Scale Agricultural Investments in and by G20 Countries: A Call for more Transparency

Policy Brief, Task Force 10: Sustainable Energy, Water, and Food Systems, 2020

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Digital Platforms in Africa: the "Uberisation" of Informal Work

GIGA Focus Africa, 07/2019