HKS Authors

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Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy


Economists have for decades recommended that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases be taxed – or otherwise priced – to provide incentives for their reduction. The USA does not have a federal carbon tax; however, many state and federal programs to reduce carbon emissions effectively price carbon – for example, through cap-and-trade systems or regulations. There are also programs that subsidize reductions in carbon emissions. At the 2022 meetings of the American Economic Association, the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis brought together five well-known economists – Joe Aldy, Dallas Burtraw, Carolyn Fischer, Meredith Fowlie, and Rob Williams – to discuss how the USA does, in fact, price carbon and how it could price carbon. Maureen Cropper chaired the panel. This paper summarizes their remarks.


Aldy, Joseph E., Dallas Burtraw, Carolyn Fischer, Meredith Fowlie, Roberton C. Williams III, and Maureen L. Cropper. "How is the U.S. Pricing Carbon? How Could We Price Carbon?" Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 13.3 (Fall 2022): 310-334.