Does the quality of political institutions matter for the effectiveness of environmental taxes? An empirical analysis on CO2 emissions

Working paper n°: 140

Unit: Population Dynamics and Health

Author(s): Donatella Baiardi , Simona Scabrosetti

Year: 2020

We empirically investigate the existence of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) focusing on a sample of 39 countries in the period 1996-2014. Using an interaction model, we also analyze whether the effectiveness of environmental taxes in reducing CO 2 emissions depends on the quality of political institutions. Our results show that the inverted U-shaped relationship between environmental stress and economic development holds independently of the quality of political institutions and environment related taxes. Moreover, an increase in the environmental tax revenue has the expected reducing effect on environmental degradation only in countries with more consolidated democratic institutions, higher civil society participation and less corrupt governments. Our findings also show that the effects on environmental stress of revenue neutral shifts to different tax sources depend not only on the quality of political institutions, but also on the kind of externality the policymaker aims at correcting.

Donatella Baiardi, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali, University of Parma, Parma, Italy. E-mail:

Simona Scabrosetti, Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. Carlo F. Dondena Center for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policies, Università Bocconi, Milano, Italy. E-mail:

Language: English

The paper may be downloaded here