CFDP 2038R

The Incidence of Carbon Taxes in U.S. Manufacturing: Lessons from Energy Cost Pass-through


Publication Date: May 2016

Revision Date: January 2017

Pages: 49


This paper estimates how increases in production costs due to energy inputs affect consumer versus producer surplus (i.e., incidence). In doing so, we develop a general methodology to measure the incidence of changes in input costs that can account for three first-order issues: factor substitution amongst inputs used for production, incomplete pass-through of input costs, and industry competitiveness. We apply this methodology to a set of U.S. manufacturing industries for which we observe plant-level output prices and input costs. We find that about 70 percent of energy price-driven changes in input costs are passed through to consumers. This implies that the share of welfare cost borne by consumers is 25-75 percent smaller (and the share borne by producers is correspondingly larger) than most existing work assumes.


Pass-through, Incidence, Energy prices, Productivity, Climate change