Sales Taxes and Internet Commerce
AbstractWe estimate the sensitivity of Internet retail purchasing to sales taxes using data from the eBay marketplace. Our first approach exploits the fact that seller locations are revealed only after buyers have expressed interest in an item by clicking on its listing. We use millions of location "surprises" to estimate price elasticities with respect to the effective sales tax. We then use aggregated data to estimate cross-state substitution parameters, and substitution between offline and online purchases, relying on the variation in state and local sales taxes, and on changes in these rates over time. We find substantial sensitivity to sales taxes. Using our item-level approach, we find a price elasticity of around -2 for interested buyers. Using our aggregate approach, we find that a one percentage point increase in a state's sales tax increases online purchases by state residents by just under two percent, but decreases their online purchases from home-state retailers by 3-4 percent.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18018.
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Note: IO ITI LE PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
- H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2012-05-08 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2012-05-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-ICT-2012-05-08 (Information & Communication Technologies)
- NEP-MKT-2012-05-08 (Marketing)
- NEP-PBE-2012-05-08 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2012-05-08 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Austan Goolsbee & Joel Slemrod, 2007.
"Playing with Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes and Competition from the Internet,"
07-002, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Austan Goolsbee & Michael F. Lovenheim & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Playing with Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes, and Competition from the Internet," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 131-54, February.
- Austan Goolsbee & Michael Lovenheim & Joel B. Slemrod, 2009. "Playing With Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes and Competition From the Internet," NBER Working Papers 15612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James Alm & Mikhail I. Melnik, 2005. "Sales Taxes and the Decision to Purchase Online," Public Finance Review, , vol. 33(2), pages 184-212, March.
- Liran Einav & Theresa Kuchler & Jonathan Levin & Neel Sundaresan, 2011.
"Learning from Seller Experiements in Online Markets,"
10-033, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Liran Einav & Theresa Kuchler & Jonathan D. Levin & Neel Sundaresan, 2011. "Learning from Seller Experiments in Online Markets," NBER Working Papers 17385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009.
"Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sumit Agarwal & Leslie McGranahan, 2012. "Spending responses to state sales tax holidays," Working Paper Series WP-2012-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.