Understanding the Resistance to Carbon Taxes

Research Seminars

A Case Study of Sweden

Although carbon taxes are generally well accepted in the countries where they have been implemented to lower carbon emissions, there is still public resistance to raising them. The paper presented in this SWEEEP Seminar studies attitudes toward carbon taxation and other environmental policy instruments in Sweden. The authors survey a national sample of the population as well as members of a large organization that protests against fuel taxes. Their results show that educational level, rural versus urban domicile, political orientation, and especially trust in government affect opinions on carbon taxes; household income does not appear to matter. Lack of trust in government and lack of belief in the Pigouvian mechanism are especially important motivations for protesters’ opposition. When asked about the use of carbon tax revenue, some respondents support revenue refunding (uniform or progressive), but more people support using it for climate mitigation investments.