South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, Vol 9, No 4 (2006)

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Redistributing environmental tax revenue to reduce poverty in South Africa: The cases of energy and water

JH Van Heerden, JN Blignaut, M Mabugu, R Gerlagh, S Hess, RSJ Tol, M Horridge, R Mabugu, M De Wit, T Letsoalo


South Africa, as an upper middle-income, resource-intensive developing country with an open economy, has to find innovative ways to combat poverty, promote economic growth and reduce the intensity of resource use, simultaneously.  One option is to explore the plausibility of achieving a double dividend by levying a tax on water and energy and recycling the revenue back to the economy by allowing for a reduction in other forms of taxation.  According to the double dividend theory it is possible, under some conditions, to achieve both environmental and economic objectives.  We investigated such a possibility in the South African economy using an integrated economy/environment CGE model and found that it is indeed possible to achieve such double dividend benefits.  Given the prevailing economic and environmental contexts, government should actively search for ways to achieve such dividends.

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EISSN 2222-3436 (Online)