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The Value of Broadband and the Deadweight Loss of Taxing New Technology

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  • Goolsbee Austan

    () (U. Chicago, GSB)

Abstract

With fixed costs of developing technology, taxes can generate large efficiency costs by slowing the rate of diffusion and these costs are not accounted for in conventional analyses. This paper illustrates the potential importance of this idea in the context of taxes on broadband Internet access at an early stage of its existence by combining data on individual demand by area with data on supplier entry into those markets. Applying a tax to broadband in 1998 would have reduced the quantity and generated a large deadweight loss in the conventional model but when the analysis accounts for the fixed costs of entering new markets, taxes lead to delayed entry in several markets. In these places, the lost consumer surplus is additional deadweight loss and it more than doubles the true efficiency costs from taxation. The conventional model also dramatically understates the share of the tax burden borne by consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Goolsbee Austan, 2006. "The Value of Broadband and the Deadweight Loss of Taxing New Technology," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.5:y:2006:i:1:n:8
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    Cited by:

    1. Pollock, R., 2009. "The Economics of Public Sector Information," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0920, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Pereira, Pedro & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2011. "The impact on broadband access to the Internet of the dual ownership of telephone and cable networks," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 283-293, March.
    3. Carare, Octavian & McGovern, Chris & Noriega, Raquel & Schwarz, Jay, 2015. "The willingness to pay for broadband of non-adopters in the U.S.: Estimates from a multi-state survey," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 19-35.
    4. Robert C. Seamans, 2012. "Fighting City Hall: Entry Deterrence and Technology Upgrades in Cable TV Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(3), pages 461-475, March.
    5. Roberto Burguet & R. McAfee, 2009. "License prices for financially constrained firms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 178-198, October.
    6. Economides, Nicholas & Tåg, Joacim, 2012. "Network neutrality on the Internet: A two-sided market analysis," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 91-104.
    7. Stijn Ferrari & Frank Verboven & Hans Degryse, 2010. "Investment and Usage of New Technologies: Evidence from a Shared ATM Network," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1046-1079, June.
    8. Dutz Mark A. & Orszag Jonathan M. & Willig Robert D., 2012. "The Liftoff of Consumer Benefits from the Broadband Revolution," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 1-34, December.
    9. Austan Goolsbee, 2001. "The Implications of Electronic Commerce for Fiscal Policy (and Vice Versa)," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 13-23, Winter.
    10. Mélisande Cardona & Anton Schwarz & B. Yurtoglu & Christine Zulehner, 2009. "Demand estimation and market definition for broadband Internet services," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 70-95, February.
    11. Gao, Maija & Hyytinen, Ari & Toivanen, Otto, 2005. "Demand for Mobile Internet: Evidence from a Real-World Pricing Experiment," Discussion Papers 964, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    12. Victor Glass & Stela Stefanova, 2010. "An empirical study of broadband diffusion in rural America," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 70-85, August.
    13. Prieger, James E. & Hu, Wei-Min, 2008. "The broadband digital divide and the nexus of race, competition, and quality," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 150-167, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

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