Who Puts a Price on Carbon, Why and How? A Global Empirical Analysis of Carbon Pricing Policies


This article examines why some countries put a price on greenhouse gas emissions while others do not; and why some carbon pricing policies are more ambitious than others. Our study of a global sample of 200 countries by means of event history analysis reveals that governments are more likely to opt for carbon pricing policies when their trading partners, as well as competitor countries that export goods to the same market, also do so. This pattern is similar to what we can observe with regard to the strength of enacted carbon pricing policies. Governments go for more ambitious carbon pricing policies when their closest trade competitors and partners do so as well. In sum, our findings emphasize the strong role of trade-related aspects. Concerns over potential competitive disadvantages thus seem to constitute a major obstacle to policy diffusion and the strengthening of carbon pricing policies.

Climate Policy

Online appendix

The online appendix contains an extension of the procedures and results presented in the paper; the JAGS code for the statistical model, and the ggmcmc output for convergence diagnostics of the model parameters.

Data and code

The report (PDF, 2.4 Mb, HTML 25 Mb) contains all the code, figures and explanations necessary to produce the results reported in the article and the online appendix. The files containing the data are the following:

  • carbon_pricing.csv: contains the main data on the years of establishing a carbon tax, carbon pricing and ETS.
  • carbon_pricing-patterns.csv: contains the data on the details of the policies established, ready for the measurement model on the ambition.
  • ratification.csv: contains the ratification dates for the Kyoto protocol and Paris agreement.