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Nicoletta Batini, Ian Parry, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Denmark has a highly ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. While there is general agreement that carbon pricing should be the centerpiece of Denmark’s mitigation strategy, pricing needs to be effective, address equity and leakage concerns, and be reinforced by additional measures at the sectoral level. The strategy Denmark develops can be a good prototype for others to follow. This paper discusses mechanisms to scale up domestic carbon pricing, compensate households, and possibly combine pricing with a border carbon adjustment. It also recommends the use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives, particularly for transportation and agriculture, fisheries and forestry, though these schemes could also be applied more widely.
Mr. Kangni R Kpodar and Patrick A. Imam
While many developing countries limit the international fuel price pass through to domestic fuel prices, others do not. Against this backdrop, we examine the factors that determine whether governments allow international fuel price changes to be passed through to domestic prices in developing countries using a dataset spanning 109 developing countries from 2000 to 2014. The paper finds that the pass-through is higher when changes in international prices are moderate and less volatile. In addition, the flexibility of the pricing mechanism allows for higher pass-through while exchange rate depreciation and lower retail fuel prices in neighboring countries inhibit it. The econometric results also underscore the fact that countries with inflation tend to experience lower pass-through, whereas those with high public debt exhibit larger pass-through. Finally, no evidence is found that political variables or environmental policies matter with regard to fuel price dynamics in the short-term. These findings, which are consistent across fuel products (gasoline, diesel and kerosene), allow us to draw important policy lessons for fuel subsidy reforms.
Mr. David Coady, Ian Parry, Nghia-Piotr Le, and Baoping Shang
This paper updates estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, defined as fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries. Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017. The largest subsidizers in 2015 were China ($1.4 trillion), United States ($649 billion), Russia ($551 billion), European Union ($289 billion), and India ($209 billion). About three quarters of global subsidies are due to domestic factors—energy pricing reform thus remains largely in countries’ own national interest—while coal and petroleum together account for 85 percent of global subsidies. Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.
Davide Furceri, Jun Ge, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
We construct unanticipated government spending shocks for 103 developing countries from 1990 to 2015 and study their effects on income distribution. We find that unanticipated fiscal consolidations lead to a long-lasting increase in income inequality, while fiscal expansions lower inequality. The results are robust to several measures of income distribution and size of the fiscal shocks, to an alternative identification strategy, across expansions and recessions and across country groups (low-income countries versus emerging markets). An additional contribution of the paper is the computation of the medium-term inequality multiplier. This is on average about 1 in our sample, meaning that a cumulative decrease in government spending of 1 percent of GDP over 5 years is associated with a cumulative increase in the Gini coefficient over the same period of about 1 percentage point. The multiplier is larger for total government expenditure than for public investment and consumption (with the former having larger effect), likely due to the redistributive role of transfers. Finally, we find that (unanticipated) fiscal consolidations lead to an increase in poverty.