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暴利税,不是经济学家的建议  

2009-03-27 19:54:06|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Is a windfall profits tax Pigovian?



Severalpeople have asked me whether Obama's proposed windfall profits tax onoil companies is like the Pigovian tax on gasoline I have often advocated in the past. The answer is no.
有人问我,奥巴马提出要对石油公司征收“暴利税”(windfall profits tax),算不算给汽油征收了“庇古税”。这个玩艺,是我过去经常提倡的。我的答案是“非也”。

Here is one reason, as explained by Josh Barro (son of Harvard economist Robert Barro):
这里给出一个理由,这是Josh Barro解释的(他是哈佛经济学家Robert Barro的儿子):
Windfallprofits taxes also drive up oil imports because they discriminateagainst domestic oil producers to the benefit of the Saudis and theVenezuelans—even Barack Obama lacks the power to impose productiontaxes on foreign oil producers.
“暴利税”也促进了石油进口,这是因为这个税种歧视了国内的石油企业,但是,对于Saudis和Venezuelans却是有利的——即使奥巴马也没办法,去对外国的石油企业征收“生产税”啊。
To keepthings simple, imagine we were considering a small country that takesthe world price of oil as given. Then a windfall profits tax ondomestic companies discourages domestic production, but has it has noeffect on domestic consumption. By contrast, a Pigovian tax at the gaspump reduces domestic consumption but has no effect on domesticproduction.
简化起见,假设:我们现在考虑的是一个小国家,它只能接受石油的国际报价。这样,给国内企业征收的“暴利税”,就压抑了国内生产,但是,这个政策对国内的消费却没有影响。相反,对气泵(gas pump)征收的庇古税,却会降低国内消费,而对国内生产没有影响。

In a hypothetical closed economy, production andconsumption are the same, so the two plans become closer. But even thenthey are not exactly the same. A tax on (accounting) profits is not thesame as a tax on production. The former may distort the the choice offactor inputs (that is, capital vs labor), while the latter will not.
在这样一个假设性的封闭经济体中,生产和消费是一样的,因此,这两个方案,也比较接近。但是,即使如此,也不完全一样。对(会计)利润征税,与对生产征税,是不一样的。前者扭曲的是“要素投入的选择”(即资本与劳动力),而后者却不是这样。

TheObama windfall profits tax proposal, like the McCain gas tax holiday,shows one thing: Energy is too important an issue in this campaign tolet the policy wonks get their way. Both candidates' energy proposalsseem to have been written by their political consultants rather thantheir economists.
奥巴马的暴利税建议,与McCain的“油气税假日方案”(gas tax holiday),说明了一件事:在这个竞选活动中,能源是一个很重要的事儿,这样,政策的盲客(wonks)是不会让它通过的。这两个的能源建议,似乎都是他们的政治顾问写的,而不是经济学家们写的。

Addendum: Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee defends his candidate's plan.Austan's argument is that the windfall profits tax is justified becausethe oil companies have gotten subsidies in the past. I suppose asimilar logic would suggest a new tax on economists who in the pasthave received government scholarships and research grants and are nowenjoying substantial commercial success. Steve Levitt, watch out!
又:奥巴马的顾问Austan Goolsbee对这个方案进行了辩护。他的说法是:暴利税是合适的,因为石油企业在过去拿了补贴。我觉得,对于那些过去拿到过政府研究资助的、现在享受着巨大的商业成功的经济学,这个逻辑也是适用的。哈,Steve Levitt,你可要小心了。

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