Seminars & webinars
21 September, 2017

FEEM Research Seminar on "Is the gasoline tax regressive in the twenty-first century? Taking wealth into account"

Where: Milan

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
Corso Magenta 63
20123 Milan

at FEEM Venice

How to reach: Google map
Event's Timetable:
h. 12.30 Seminar
In Milan a light lunch will follow the seminar for registered participants.

Registration is required. Please confirm your participation here.
The seminar will be broadcasted via GoToMeeting.
Seminars Office,


Stefano Verde - European University Institute, Florence School of Regulation


Poterba (1991a) has much influenced the literature on the distributional effects of carbon pricing. Poterba argues that the incidence of energy/environmental taxes across households is better appreciated if the relative tax burdens are measured against total expenditure, interpreted as a proxy for lifetime income, instead of annual income. This way, however, since the distribution of total expenditure is structurally more uniform, the incidence of energy price increases is always less regressive than when annual income is used. This outcome is often taken to lessen the relevance of equity concerns regarding carbon pricing. Almost twenty-five years after Poterba (1991a), Piketty (2014) revived the idea that wealth is a dimension of economic welfare constituting an increasingly important source of inequality. We show that omitting wealth in measuring ability to pay means underestimating the regressivity of carbon pricing and its inequity towards younger people. Using household-level data and statistical matching, we revisit Poterba's application and compare the distributional incidence of the US gasoline tax for different measures of ability to pay: total expenditure, income and wealth-adjusted income. Regressivity is not a reason to forgo carbon pricing as a cost-effective approach to climate mitigation, but calls for consideration and compensation of the distributional effects.

Download file
Download file
How to reach
Download file
Download file
Is the gasoline tax regressive in the twenty-first century? Taking wealth into account

FEEM Newsletter & Update

Subscribe to stay connected.

Your data will be processed by FEEM - Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation - Data Controller - to receive the Foundation's Newsletter & Update via e-mail. To send the requested information, the Data Controller uses e-mail sending service providers established in the U.S.A .: for this, your consent to the transfer of your email address to the U.S.A. is required, without which it will not be possible to comply with your request. We invite you to consult the complete information to obtain detailed information to protect your rights.