American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 5 (May 2014)

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How Effective Are US Renewable Energy Subsidies in Cutting Greenhouse Gases?

Article Citation

Murray, Brian C., Maureen L. Cropper, Francisco C. de la Chesnaye, and John M. Reilly. 2014. "How Effective Are US Renewable Energy Subsidies in Cutting Greenhouse Gases?" American Economic Review, 104(5): 569-74.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.569

Abstract

The federal tax code provides preferential treatment for the production and use of renewable energy. We report estimates of the subsidies' effects on greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions developed in a recent National Research Council (NRC) Report. Due to lack of estimates of the impact of tax provisions on GHG emissions, new modeling studies were commissioned. The studies found, at best, a small impact of subsidies in reducing GHG emissions; in some cases, emissions increased. The NRC report also identified the need to capture the complex interactions among subsidies, pre-existing regulations, and commodity markets.

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Authors

Murray, Brian C. (Duke U)
Cropper, Maureen L. (U MD and Resources for the Future, Washington, DC)
de la Chesnaye, Francisco C. (Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA)
Reilly, John M. (MIT)

JEL Classifications

Q42: Alternative Energy Sources
Q48: Energy: Government Policy
Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters; Global Warming
Q58: Environmental Economics: Government Policy


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