Yellow Vests, Pessimistic Beliefs, and Carbon Tax Aversion

I have become increasingly skeptical of the prospects for a meaningful carbon tax, here is a new study:

Using a representative survey, we find that after the Yellow Vests movement, French people would largely reject a tax and dividend policy, i.e., a carbon tax whose revenues are redistributed uniformly to each adult. They overestimate their net monetary losses, wrongly think that the policy is regressive, and do not perceive it as environmentally effective. We show that changing people’s beliefs can substantially increase support. Although significant, the effects of our informational treatments on beliefs are small. Indeed, the respondents that oppose the tax tend to discard positive information about it, which is consistent with distrust, uncertainty, or motivated reasoning.

That is from new work by Thomas Douenne and Adrien Fabre.


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