We consider the economics and the design of border adjustments (BAs) under a carbon tax. BAs under a carbon tax are taxes on imports and rebates on exports, based on the emissions from the production of a good. They are thought to be a method of reducing inefficiencies from a unilateral carbon price, such as shifts in the location of production, known as leakage. After examining the basic economics of BAs, we examine three design issues: which goods BAs should apply to, which emissions from the production of those goods should be taxed, and from and to which countries BAs should apply. We conclude that BAs will impose high administrative costs and need stronger welfare justifications.
Areas of Focus: Climate Change
, Climate Economics
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
, A Solution to the Leakage Problem
Climate change will affect every sector of the economy, both locally and globally. EPIC research is quantifying these effects to help guide policymakers, businesses, and individuals working to mitigate and...
A Solution to the Leakage Problem
A simple, clearly legal, and more effective alternative to border tax adjustments could be to tax domestic extraction along with border adjustments on imports and exports of energy.