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The Willingness to Pay for a Carbon Tax in Utah

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Katie Tenney

The purpose of this study is to estimate public acceptability in Utah of a carbon tax (CT) program to mitigate carbon emissions. In 2019, the Clean the Darn Air campaign proposed a ballot measure that would create a CT of $12 per metric ton of CO2 in Utah. Upon failing to gather enough signatures for the 2020 election, they have relaunched the campaign for a 2024 ballot initiative. A CT is a market-based solution promoted by economists to correct for a market failure that arises when the full costs of production and consumption (such as air pollution and climate change) are not reflected in market prices. A discrete choice experiment (CE) survey method is used to elicit preferences and acceptability of a CT program with alternative revenue use proposals that would address the regressive nature of the tax and environmental program funding, as well as estimating the dollar amount that, on average, a Utah resident would be willing-to-pay (WTP) in the form of a CT imposed as a per gallon tax at the gas pump. Socio-demographic, economic, and environmental questions are included to identify how individual characteristics affect preferences. The survey was administered using Prolific, an online research platform. Other studies have used CEs to investigate CT preferences in individual countries, such as Australia, Turkey, and the U.S., but this is the first study focused on Utah, and thus is an important contribution to the literature and local policymakers. The survey data is analyzed using a multinomial conditional logit model to provide the probability of a Utah resident supporting a CT given its attributes and the individual's characteristics. On average, the results show that individuals would be WTP a per gallon CT of $0.64, $0.54 and $0.46, if revenues are used to reduce grocery sales tax, cleaning local air pollution, and clean energy development, respectively. The results are quantitatively similar to what others have found in the literature.
University / Institution: Weber State University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A57
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Therese Grijalva