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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Spring 9-1-2014

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 9(2)


Faculty Mentor: William Lowry

Green policy often falls off the legislative agenda due to a prioritization of concerns more routine and immediate than climate change. A clear understanding that environmental policy can fit into a nation’s political and economic schema and goals may be key to the successful timing of implementation. Green taxes, carbon taxes, or eco taxes are particularly salient and global political discussions have found praise among liberals and fiscal conservative alike. A prominent theory of Reaganomics is the Laffer Curve, which is a mathematical approach to determining optimal tax rates. Through examining secondary sources, I apply the Laffer Curve Theory to Ireland and the United States to evaluate its applicability to inform successful adoption of green tax policy. First, I analyze Ireland in 2010 when the country implemented its now quite successful carbon tax to understand if the economic theory can be an indicator of success. I then attempt to model the viability of an ecotax policy in the U.S. in 2013, using Ireland as a basis of comparison. Applying the Laffer Curve Theory to green tax policy enactment may prove a valuable methodology for implementing green taxes prudently, especially in the U.S. where the American bipartisan party system has proved especially challenging to progressive federal policy in recent years.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 9, Issue 2, Spring 2014. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research, Joy Zalis Kiefer Director of Undergraduate Research and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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