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Green taxation and individual responsibility

Green taxation and individual responsibility
Jerome Balleta, Damien Bazinb, Abraham Liouic, David Touahrid

Ecological  Economics, 63(2007)732-739

Abstact

The current article aims at studying the effects of taxation on environmental quality, in an
economy where its agents are responsible. Individual responsibility towards nature is
modelized by the voluntary effort to which the households have agreed insofar as the
improvement of environmental quality is concerned. It is an original way to show that the
individuals may feel committed towards the environment and assume obligations towards it
as well as towards environmental public policy. Given that, in our model, such effort is taken
from one's allocated time for leisure, its opportunity cost is that of the sacrificed time for
leisure, and is therefore equal to the individual's wage. We shall highlight that State
intervention through the introduction of a (green) tax always crowds out individual
responsibility. However, the intensity of this crowding-out depends on the performance of
the State. Moreover, State intervention could, depending on the amount of crowding-out,
reduce the overall quality of the environment. In a general equilibrium setting, we show that
the crowding-out effect is not systematic. This is because there will then be an interaction
between effort (or work time) and the cost of that effort (linked to the individual's wage, and
therefore to production and finally to work/effort). In this article, we shall discuss the
conditions under which public policy crowds out individual responsibilitywithin this context.

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