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23 November 2023

Is inequality behind fall in support for carbon tax policies?

A new project led by a King’s academic will examine whether rising inequality is linked to falling levels of public support for carbon tax policies.


As advanced democracies like the UK have experienced increasing levels of inequality over the last decade, researchers want to investigate whether it is linked to a growing resistance among the public to policies that impose new taxes on carbon and how that could impact the efforts of governments to meet climate targets.

The project, Inequality perceptions and preferences for carbon taxation, is being led by Dr David Hope (King’s College London), with Dr Julian Limberg (King’s College London) and Dr Yves Steinebach (University of Oslo).

The researchers have received a grant of more than £20,000 from the Stone Centre at University College London.

Dr Hope, from the Department of Political Economy at King’s, said: “The project aims to shed new light on why public support for carbon taxes is so low, despite the crucial role that many economists and environmental campaigners believe they could play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

“More specifically, we plan to explore whether the distributive implications of carbon taxes might act as a drag on support in times of high inequality.”

Survey work for the project will be conducted in four nations - the UK, Italy, Germany and Norway.

The researchers will also be working with the COREecon project to produce a range of teaching resources from their work. COREecon works with a network of academics around the world to produce open access education materials in the field of economics.

In this story

David  Hope

Senior Lecturer in Political Economy

Julian Limberg

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy