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Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?

  • Chen, Jiawei
  • Esteban, Susanna
  • Shum, Matthew

In this paper, we quantitatively investigate the effectiveness of a sales tax reduction in stimulating sales and profits of durable goods manufacturers. Our question is motivated by policy makers' recent interest in helping ailing automobile manufacturers and in replacing a fleet of highly polluting vehicles. President Obama's economic stimulus plan, for instance, has directly targeted the primary market by including a sales tax credit on purchases of new cars and trucks. In this paper, we show that the benefit of reducing the sales tax, measured by its effect on firms' profits and sales, greatly decreases with the product's durability. The magnitude of our findings indicates that one must carefully account for durability and firms' behavior when evaluating such policies. Our findings are robust when we vary key parameters of the market.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 28 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 397-402

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:4:p:397-402
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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  1. West, Sarah E., 2004. "Distributional effects of alternative vehicle pollution control policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 735-757, March.
  2. Fullerton Don & West Sarah E, 2010. "Tax and Subsidy Combinations for the Control of Car Pollution," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-33, February.
  3. Chen, Jiawei & Esteban, Susanna & Shum, Matthew, 2008. "Demand and supply estimation biases due to omission of durability," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 247-257, December.
  4. Goering, Gregory E & Boyce, John R, 1996. "Taxation and Market Power When Products Are Durable," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 83-94, January.
  5. Adam Copeland & Wendy Dunn & George Hall, 2005. "Prices, Production and Inventories over the Automotive Model Year," NBER Working Papers 11257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Susanna Esteban & Matthew Shum, 2007. "Durable-goods oligopoly with secondary markets: the case of automobiles," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 332-354, 06.
  7. Anna Alberini & Winston Harrington & Virginia McConnell, 1995. "Determinants of Participation in Accelerated Vehicle-Retirement Programs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 93-112, Spring.
  8. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2010. "Automobile Replacement: A DynamicStructural Approach," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 49, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  9. Jerome Adda & Russell Cooper, 2000. "Balladurette and Juppette: A Discrete Analysis of Scrapping Subsidies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 778-806, August.
  10. Esteban Susanna, 2007. "Effective Scrappage Subsidies," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, February.
  11. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  12. Smith Loren K., 2009. "New Market Policy Effects on Used Markets: Theory and Evidence," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, July.
  13. Robert H. Porter & Peter Sattler, 1999. "Patterns of Trade in the Market for Used Durables: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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