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Optimal two-part tariffs in a model of discrete choice


  • De Borger, Bruno


In this paper we study welfare-optimal two-part tariffs in a model of discrete choice. The determinants of the sign and magnitude of the fixed and variable tax are analysed in terms of the nature and degree of consumer heterogeneity, the price sensitivities of participation probabilities and conditional demands, and the nature of distributional concerns. In the absence of distributional concerns, the model generalises the ‘corrected’ Ramsey rule for the variable tax and it shows that, in the absence of collection or fixed participation costs, the fixed fee may be negative. The conditions that determine the sign of the participation fee turn out to have an intuitive economic interpretation. Finally, the implications of distributional concerns for the optimal fixed and variable taxes are analysed.
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Suggested Citation

  • De Borger, Bruno, 2000. "Optimal two-part tariffs in a model of discrete choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 127-150, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:76:y:2000:i:1:p:127-150

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Schmalensee, 1981. "Monopolistic Two-Part Pricing Arrangements," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 445-466, Autumn.
    2. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
    3. Small, Kenneth A & Rosen, Harvey S, 1981. "Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 105-130, January.
    4. Damus, Sylvester, 1981. "Two-Part Tariffs and Optimum Taxation: The Case of Railway Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 65-79, March.
    5. Yew-Kwang Ng & Mendel Weisser, 1974. "Optimal Pricing with a Budget Constraint—The Case of the Two-part Tariff," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 337-345.
    6. A. Michael Spence, 1980. "Multi-Product Quantity-Dependent Prices and Profitability Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(5), pages 821-841.
    7. Diamond, P. A., 1975. "A many-person Ramsey tax rule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-342, November.
    8. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2002. " Nonlinear Pricing, Redistribution, and Optimal Tax Policy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(2), pages 139-161.
    9. Rosen, Harvey S., 1979. "Housing decisions and the U.S. income tax : An econometric analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-23, February.
    10. De Jong, G. C., 1990. "An indirect utility model of car ownership and private car use," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 971-985, July.
    11. Glazer, Amihai & Niskanen, Esko, 1992. "Parking fees and congestion," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 123-132, March.
    12. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 1997. " Optimal Tax and Public Investment Rules for Congestion Type of Externalities," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 261-279, June.
    13. Conrad, K & Schroder, M, 1991. "Demand for Durable and Nondurable Goods, Environmental Policy and Consumer Welfare," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(3), pages 271-286, July-Sept.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carmona, Miguel, 2010. "The regulatory function in public-private partnerships for the provision of transport infrastructure," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 110-125.
    2. De Borger, Bruno, 2001. "Discrete choice models and optimal two-part tariffs in the presence of externalities: optimal taxation of cars," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 471-504, July.
    3. Szmerekovsky, Joseph G. & Zhang, Jiang, 2009. "Pricing and two-tier advertising with one manufacturer and one retailer," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(3), pages 904-917, February.
    4. Anders Karlström & Mårten Palme & Ingemar Svensson, 2011. "Assessing the welfare change from a pension reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(6), pages 634-657, December.
    5. A. de Palma & K. Kilani, 2003. "Compensating Variation for Discrete Choice Models," THEMA Working Papers 2003-02, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies


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