This is the story of how textbook examples of environmental taxation and emission trading came to life and the obstacles they face, all from the perspective of CERE Research Director Bengt Kriström. Complete with bubbles, dragons, yin and yang. Grab a coffee or tea and enjoy.
When textbooks come alive
As an economist fresh out of graduate school, my first assignment for the Government was to work in a Commission on environmental taxation. Rather than drawing curves on (in those days) a blackboard as a teacher, I was part of a team that translated the curves into numbers, i.e. taxes per kg of whatever emissions we were looking at. The Commission published its final deliberations in 1991 and the Parliament later introduced a suite of environmental taxes. Later evaluations have shown that these taxes work exactly as how we thought they would do in theory. Success!
We had more ideas from the textbooks for the Commission to ponder, i.e. using markets to trade pollution. However, the time was not ripe for emission markets in Sweden, although they had already had been around for some time in for example the US. They were considered too complex and, after all, the Commission’s task was a piece of a larger puzzle; a significant tax reform involving a whole array of taxes. Somehow the reform had to be financed and a partial answer was the new taxes the Commission came up with. Yet, a daring reform it was.
Three projects have received grants for research starting 2018. One project hope to contribute to a better understanding of the merits of using intervals in survey research. Another project aims to provide new insights on how pastoralist land tenure can be designed to enable effective adaptation strategies. The third grant is a scholarship that enables continuous research for PhD Mattias Vesterberg.
There is no statistically significant effect of foreign ownership on the unions’ bargaining power over employment or wages according to study. This could mean that concerns about foreign ownership in Sweden is unfounded.
Landscape planning could to a greater extent be used to balance different interests in the forest. Some forest areas might be in need of extended nature conservation in favor of biodiversity. Other areas lack conservation values and could open up for a more intensive forestry. The possibilities with landscape planning in the forest and how it could be applied is being studied in an ongoing project.
CERE member and PhD Brian Danley has been a guest of Professors Nick Hanley and Danny Campbell at the University of Stirling in October and November. While at Stirling, Brian was given the opportunity to join a research project on discrete choice.