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Distributional implications of environmental taxation in Denmark


Environmental taxes have been introduced in many countries. However, few countries have reached the level of environmental taxation that is seen in Denmark today. This paper analyses the individual taxes as well as the combination of all these taxes and duties related to environmental concerns, including taxes on heating, transport fuels, electricity, water, waste, plastic bags, registration of cars, annual car use and pesticides. The distributional effect of taxes is examined in relation to household income, socio-economic class, residential location and family status. The shifting of the tax structure from high marginal income tax to consumption-based taxes, especially environmental taxes, might have distributional impacts that have not been considered part of the tax policy. The results suggest that in Denmark taxes on petrol and registration duties for cars are progressive, whereas most other environmental taxes are regressive, especially the green taxes on water, retail containers and CO2 emissions.