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Assessing the distributional effects of carbon taxes on food: Inequalities and nutritional insights in France

Abstract : A carbon tax on food could contribute to emissions mitigation and act as a strong signal to economic actors. However, tax regressivity is a major disadvantage. This study addressed equity issues using several means. First, reallocation proposals in a revenue-neutral approach of several emission-based carbon taxation scenarios at the consumption level of food are included. Second, these proposals' distributional incidence was developed, evaluating the role of carbon pricing in policy impacts. Using a carbon-based approach, differing emission potentials of food groups highlight the relevance of using proteins as a tax base to redirect animal to plant sources in a diet. Thus, a scenario of taxing foods rich in animal proteins and subsidizing those rich in plant proteins was constructed. Scanner data of French households in 2010 were analyzed. Several GHG emission indicators and related nutritional impacts, such as diet quality scores and a shift from animal to plant proteins, were evaluated. Using individual changes in food expenditure, distributional effects based on continuous distribution and inequality indexes were measured, allowing for a discussion of policy options of a targeted vs. nontargeted tax and a revenue-neutral approach in the food sector.
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France Caillavet, Adélaïde Fadhuile, Veronique Nichèle. Assessing the distributional effects of carbon taxes on food: Inequalities and nutritional insights in France. Ecological Economics, Elsevier, 2019, 163 (September), pp.20-31. ⟨10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.04.020⟩. ⟨hal-02130816⟩

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