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Unit Vs. Ad Valorem Taxes in Multi-Product Cournot Oligopoly

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  • Lapan, Harvey E.
  • Hennessy, David A.

Abstract

The welfare dominance of ad valorem taxes over unit taxes in a single-market Cournot oligopoly is well-known. This article extends the analysis to multi-market oligopoly. Provided all ad valorem taxes are positive, unit costs are constant, firms are active in all considered markets, and a representative consumer has convex preferences, it is shown that ad valorem taxes dominate in multi-product equilibrium. We discuss the role of unit cost covariances across multi-product firms in determining the extent of cost efficiencies arising under ad valorem taxation. The issue of merger under oligopoly is also considered. Conditions are identified under which a merger increases the sum of consumer and producer surpluses while also increasing the revenue yield from a set of unit taxes. If not all firms are active in all considered markets, then it is also shown that additional conditions are required to ensure the dominance of ad valorem taxes. In multi-input Cournot oligopsony, however, unit taxation welfare dominates. This is because ad valorem taxes on inputs reduce demand elasticities, amplifying market power distortions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12780.

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Date of creation: 09 Apr 2007
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economic Theory, February 2011, vol. 13 no. 1, pp. 125-138
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12780

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Keywords: ad valorem tax; imperfect competition; oligopoly merger; quantity-setting game; specific tax; tax efficiency; tax revenue;

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References

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  1. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, . "The LeChatelier Principle," Working Papers 95007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Hamilton, Stephen F., 1999. "The comparative efficiency of ad valorem and specific taxes under monopoly and monopsony," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 235-238, May.
  3. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Varian, Hal R., 1985. "Two remarks on Cournot equilibria," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 5-8.
  4. Lapan, Harvey E. & Hennessy, David A., 2006. "A note on cost arrangement and market performance in a multi-product Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 583-591, May.
  5. Vincenzo Denicolo & Massimo Matteuzzi, 2000. "Specific and Ad Valorem Taxation in Asymmetric Cournot Oligopolies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 335-342, May.
  6. Hennessy, David A. & Lapan, Harvey E., 2005. "Statistical Moments Analysis of Production and Profits in Multi-Product Cournot Oligopoly," Staff General Research Papers 12471, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Anderson, S.P. & de Palma, A. & Kreider, K., 1999. "The Efficiency of Indirect Taxes Under Imperfect Competition," Papers 99-09, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  8. Sofia Delipalla & Michael Keen, 1991. "The Comparison Between Ad Valorem and Specific Taxation under Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 821, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Skeath, Susan E. & Trandel, Gregory A., 1994. "A Pareto comparison of ad valorem and unit taxes in noncompetitive environments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-71, January.
  10. Blackorby, Charles & Murty, Sushama, 2006. "Unit Versus Ad Valorem Taxes : Monopoly In General Equilibrium," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 761, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Greg Shaffer & Stephen W. Salant, 1999. "Unequal Treatment of Identical Agents in Cournot Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 585-604, June.
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