Modelling as Agit-prop: The Treasury’s Role in Australia’s Carbon Tax Debate
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This paper examines the modelling undertaken by the Commonwealth Treasury of the costs of an Australian emissions trading scheme, published in 'Strong Growth, Low Pollution'. Despite its considerable technical sophistication, we argue that this modelling is primarily an exercise in propaganda: 'the systematic dissemination of selected information to promote a particular doctrine' (Oxford English Dictionary). That propaganda role determined the limited range of questions asked in the modelling, the myriad unrealistic assumptions made in answering those questions, and the limitations imposed on third-party access to the model and data.
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Environment and Resource Economics