Taxes, minimum-quality standards and/or product labeling to improve environmental quality and welfare: Experiments can provide answers

Abstract

This study focuses on the welfare impact of taxes, minimum-quality standards, and/or product labeling. A theoretical framework shows that the combination of a label and a per-unit tax is socially optimal. Alternatively, if the label is unavailable, the theory cannot directly conclude which instrument should be socially preferred. Estimations of willingness-to-pay (WTP) are useful for completing the theoretical analysis and evaluating policies ex ante on case-by-case basis. Using hypothetical WTP for shrimp, we confirm that the combination of a label and a tax is socially optimal. In the absence of a label, simulations show that a minimum-quality standard leads to a higher welfare compared to a tax.

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Correspondence to Stéphan Marette.

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Disdier, A., Marette, S. Taxes, minimum-quality standards and/or product labeling to improve environmental quality and welfare: Experiments can provide answers. J Regul Econ 41, 337–357 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11149-011-9167-y

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Keywords

  • Regulatory instruments
  • Environment
  • Stated preference experiment
  • Willingness-to-pay

JEL Classification

  • C91
  • H23
  • Q51