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Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Jiawei & Esteban, Susanna & Shum, Matthew, 2010. "Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 397-402, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:28:y:2010:i:4:p:397-402
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adam Copeland & Wendy E. Dunn & George J. Hall, 2005. "Prices, production, and inventories over the automotive model year," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2011. "Automobile replacement: a dynamic structural approach," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 266-291, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, June.
    5. Esteban Susanna, 2007. "Effective Scrappage Subsidies," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-32, February.
    6. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Huang, Jian & Leng, Mingming & Liang, Liping & Luo, Chunlin, 2014. "Qualifying for a government’s scrappage program to stimulate consumers’ trade-in transactions? Analysis of an automobile supply chain involving a manufacturer and a retailer," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 239(2), pages 363-376.
    2. Amagoia Sagasta & José M. Usategui, 2015. "Purchase and rental subsidies in durable-oligopolies," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 213(2), pages 11-40, June.
    3. Naoki Wakamori, 2011. "Portfolio Considerations in Differentiated Product Purchases: An Application to the Japanese Automobile Market," Staff Working Papers 11-27, Bank of Canada.

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