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Ecological tax reform in Germany : handling two hot potatoes at the same time

  • Combining environmental with employment objectives, ecological tax reform (ETR) envisages a double dividend. While research has mainly focused on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of ETR, there is less literature on the social responses. This paper gives an overview and history of German ETR as well as investigating the understanding of perceptions and attitudes towards ETR of those being "subject to tax". The research is based on qualitative social research methods. As with the other PETRAS papers, interviews were conducted with policy-makers and business leaders and focus groups were formed with lay persons. The results show that responses of policy-makers and business leaders are modest. Although some criticisms about theCombining environmental with employment objectives, ecological tax reform (ETR) envisages a double dividend. While research has mainly focused on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of ETR, there is less literature on the social responses. This paper gives an overview and history of German ETR as well as investigating the understanding of perceptions and attitudes towards ETR of those being "subject to tax". The research is based on qualitative social research methods. As with the other PETRAS papers, interviews were conducted with policy-makers and business leaders and focus groups were formed with lay persons. The results show that responses of policy-makers and business leaders are modest. Although some criticisms about the specific design of the German ETR remain, complaints towards ETR are settled. Attitudes appear influenced by more fundamental convictions such as economic interest or altruistic views. In contrast, ETR appears to politicise common people. Attitudes are influenced by the overall comprehension of the ETR concept, the expected impacts, perceived information deficits, as well as a general distrust in politics. Our data show that the linking of environmental and employment objectives is not understood and not welcomed. In order to increase social acceptance, the paper discusses refocusing ETR on environmental objectives, modestly increasing the share of ETR revenue spent for environmental purposes, removing inconsistencies in the ETR design, and improving information policy.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Christiane BeuermannGND, Tilman Santarius
Year of Publication:2006
Language:English
Source Title (English):Energy policy
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2004.08.045
Volume:34
Issue:8
First Page:917
Last Page:929
Division:Energie-, Verkehrs- und Klimapolitik
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Politik