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Distributional effects of climate policies. Studies on households and countries in Europe

18 September 2009

PhD ceremony: ms. A.C. Kerkhof, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Distributional effects of climate policies. Studies on households and countries in Europe

Promotor(s): prof. H.C. Moll, prof. A.J.M. Schoot Uiterkamp

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Concerns about inequitable distributions of burdens among and within countries are a serious barrier for the implementation of climate policies. Insight into such distributional effects is highly relevant for adequate action by policy-makers. The aim of Annemarie Kerkhof’s thesis is to examine the possible distributional effects of climate policies among and within European countries. First, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of household consumption in different income groups and countries are quantified, taking into account the life-cycle of goods and services. Additionally, the cost distributions of economic instruments are considered. The findings show that the variation in household GHG emissions among countries and income groups depends on both 1) the household consumption level and pattern and 2) the life-cycle GHG emissions of basic and luxury goods. The Dutch case studies show that the share of GHG emissions from basic goods, such as food and housing, is larger than the share of GHG emissions from luxury goods. Accordingly, low-income households will carry a relatively higher burden in the case of a CO2 tax than high-income households. This unequal distribution of costs may be diminished by extending the scope op the tax with non-CO2 GHG, like methane and nitrous oxide. Climate policies will probably have similar effects in the UK. In contrast, climate policies will probably lead to a relatively higher burden for high-income households in Sweden and Norway. These national differences can be partly explained by differences in national conditions, like energy supply and population density.


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.

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