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Title: Environmental tax reform and sustainable development : a comparative analysis of initiatives in Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands
Author: Luckin, David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3613 7461
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2001
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Can environmental taxes contribute to sustainable development in northern industrialised economies? This study addresses this question by means of a comparative analysis of environmental tax reform initiatives introduced in recent years in Belgium (the Ecotax Law), Britain (the Landfill Tax) and the Netherlands (the Regulatory Energy Tax). The analysis also identifies the effects of differing institutional and political conditions on the implementation of environmental taxes and suggests factors which may hinder and facilitate effective environmental tax reform. The integration of economic and environmental decision-making is identified in the literature as a constituent element of sustainable development. In turn, environmental taxes are posited as one means of achieving such an integration and, hence, environmental taxes are perceived as a means of achieving sustainable development. However, sustainable development does not consist simply of integrating economic and environmental decision-making and is a much more comprehensive concept comprising a range of constituent ideas. It is possible that an environmental tax reform may be contradictory in relation to the broader sustainable development agenda. This thesis analyses environmental taxes using a thematic framework derived from the sustainable development literature and focuses on the effects of measures in relation to participation, changing production and consumption patterns and equity. The findings of the case studies provide limited but significant indications that environmental taxation can contribute to shifting advanced economies towards more sustainable patterns of development. In particular, the Dutch Regulatory Energy Tax was developed in an open and participatory fashion, has the capacity to engender more sustainable patterns of energy use in the Dutch domestic and commercial sectors and is accompanied by a range of innovative flanking measures which effectively address equity concerns. However, even the Dutch measure forms part of a wider climate change strategy in which policy in relation to industrial energy use is characterised by closed interactions between government and business and inherent limitations on changes to patterns of production and consumption. More generally, issues relating to governance and accountability were prominent in the findings, as in each case functions relating to policy implementation have been transferred to the private sector. The major institutional factors impacting on the implementation of environmental taxes included division of competences and co-ordination between different levels of government, inter-ministry conflict and the existence and nature of forums for policy deliberation. The supranational context of European Union policy development, regulations and institutions also influenced policy outcomes in each case. In relation to implementation of effective environmental tax reform, the analysis suggests a number of considerations relating to the role of monetary valuation in policy design, expenditure of revenue, the use of positive incentives to complement environmental taxes and the potential fields of application for such taxes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Green taxes