Environmental Taxes and Productivity: Lessons from Canadian Manufacturing

Abstract

This paper investigates how environmental taxes affect manufacturing productivity by examining British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax. I develop a new hypothesis, the “Productivity Dividend Hypothesis,” to show that environmental taxes can positively affect productivity by recycling tax revenues to reduce corporate income taxes. This revenue-recycling increases investment and could raise productivity more than environmental taxes lower productivity by diverting resources from production. I evaluate this hypothesis using detailed confidential plant-level data. I find that the carbon tax lowers productivity, although this is offset to some extent by the revenue-recycling. For some plants, the policy generates a net gain in productivity.

Publication
GRIPS Discussion Paper 19-36
Akio Yamazaki
Akio Yamazaki
Assistant Professor

My research interests include environmental economics, public policy, CGE analysis, and applied microeconomics.