While carbon taxes are generally seen as a rational policy response to climate change, knowledge about their performance from an expost perspective is still limited. This paper analyzes the emissions and cost impacts of the UK CPS, a carbon tax levied on all fossil-fired power plants. To overcome the problem of a missing control group, we propose a policy evaluation approach which leverages economic theory and machine learning for counterfactual prediction. Our results indicate that in the period 2013-2016 the CPS lowered emissions by 6.2 percent at an average cost of €18 per ton. We find substantial temporal heterogeneity in tax-induced impacts which stems from variation in relative fuel prices. An important implication for climate policy is that in the short run a higher carbon tax does not necessarily lead to higher emissions reductions or higher costs.


Abrell, Jan
Kosch, Mirjam
Rausch, Sebastian


Quantitative Policy Modeling, Government Policy, Pollution Control Adoption and Costs, Distributional Effects, Employment Effects, Electric Utilities