Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment

Hans-Werner Sinn, Erkki Koskla, Ronnie Schöb

International Tax and Public Finance 5, 1998, pp. 379-396, CES Working Paper No. 151, January 1998.


When consumers choose between clean and dirty goods and the labour market clears, a green tax reform may not bring about a double dividend in the sense of increasing environmental quality and increasing employment. However, when firms choose between clean and dirty factors of production, and when there is unemployment, such a result is very likely to occur. The paper investigates a model of a monopolistic firm where labour and energy are factors of production and trade unions negotiate the wage rate, accepting some unemployment as a result of aggressive wage demands. It is shown that, in such a framework, a green tax reform will boost employment provided it does not increase the net-of-tax wage rate by too much. This is the case when the elasticity of substitution between labour and energy is greater than one, equal to one or not too far below one.


factor taxation, green tax reform, unemployment, trade unions

JEL Classification:

H20, J51