Mitigating poverty: the patterns of multiple carbon tax and recycling regimes for Peru

Malerba, Daniele / Anja Gaentzsch / Hauke Ward
External Publications (2020)

in: Energy Policy (149), article number 111961, online first

DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111961

Carbon taxes are an economically effective and efficient policy measure to address climate change mitigation. However, they can have severe adverse distributional effects. Recycling parts of the fiscal revenues to vulnerable, lower income households through cash transfers (social assistance) is an option to also overcome associated political difficulties. This paper simulates the distributional impacts of such a combined policy reform in Peru. In a first step, we assess the distributional impacts of varying carbon tax rates. In a second step, we evaluate different scenarios of recycling revenues through existing or expanded transfer schemes towards vulnerable households. The results indicate that a national carbon tax, without compensation, would increase poverty but have no significant impact on inequality. When tax revenues are recycled through transfer schemes, however, poverty would actually decrease. Depending on the amount to be redistributed and the design of the cash transfer scheme, our simulations show a proportional reduction in the poverty headcount of up to around 17%. In addition, the paper underlines how crucial it is to go beyond aggregate measures of poverty to better identify losers from such reform; and assure that the “leave no one behind” principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is addressed.

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