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Journal Article

Meat taxes in Europe can be designed to avoid overburdening low-income consumers


Klenert,  David
External Organizations;


Funke,  Franziska
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Cai,  Mattia
External Organizations;

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Klenert, D., Funke, F., Cai, M. (2023): Meat taxes in Europe can be designed to avoid overburdening low-income consumers. - Nature Food, 4, 894-901.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28792
Consumption taxes on meat have recently been under consideration in several European countries as part of their effort to achieve more sustainable food systems. Yet a major concern is that these taxes might burden low-income households disproportionately. Here we compare different meat tax designs and revenue recycling schemes in terms of their distributional impacts in a large sample of European countries. We find that across all selected tax designs, uncompensated meat taxes are slightly regressive. However, the effect on inequality is mild and can be reversed through revenue recycling via uniform lump-sum transfers in most cases. Using meat tax revenues towards lowering value-added taxes on fruit and vegetable products dampens but does not fully offset the regressive effect. Variation in the distributional impact can be explained by cross-country heterogeneity in consumption patterns, design choices between unit-based and ad valorem taxation and differentiation according to greenhouse gas intensities.