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The efficiency of indirect taxes under imperfect competition

  • Anderson, Simon P.
  • de Palma, Andre
  • Kreider, Brent

This paper considers the relative efficiency of ad valorem and unit taxes in imperfectly competitive markets. We provide a simple proof that ad valorem taxes are welfare-superior to unit taxes in the short run when production costs are identical across firms. The proof covers differentiated products and a wide range of market conduct. Cost asymmetries strengthen the case for ad valorem taxation under Cournot competition, but unit taxation may be welfare-superior under Bertrand competition with product differentiation. Ad valorem taxation is superior with free entry under Cournot competition, but not necessarily under price competition when consumers value variety.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 81 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 231-251

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:81:y:2001:i:2:p:231-251
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  2. Anderson, S.P. & de Palma, A. & Kreider, B., 1999. "Tax incidece in Differentiated product Oligopoly," Papers 99-10, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  3. Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The effects of taxation, price control and government contracts in oligopoly and monopolistic competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 133-158, March.
  4. Michael Keen, 1998. "The balance between specific and ad valorem taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-37, February.
  5. Skeath, Susan E. & Trandel, Gregory A., 1994. "A Pareto comparison of ad valorem and unit taxes in noncompetitive environments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-71, January.
  6. Novshek, William, 1985. "On the Existence of Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 85-98, January.
  7. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
  8. Daughety, Andrew F, 1990. "Beneficial Concentration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1231-37, December.
  9. Besley, Timothy, 1989. "Commodity taxation and imperfect competition : A note on the effects of entry," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 359-367, December.
  10. Hamilton, Stephen F., 1999. "Tax incidence under oligopoly: a comparison of policy approaches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-245, February.
  11. Sofia Delipalla & Michael Keen, 1991. "The Comparison Between Ad Valorem and Specific Taxation under Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 821, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Robson, Arthur J, 1990. "Stackelberg and Marshall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 69-82, March.
  13. ANDERSON, Simon P. & DE PALMA, André & NESTEROV, Yurii, 1994. "Oligopolistic Competition and the Optimal Provision of Products," CORE Discussion Papers 1994034, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Kay, J. A. & Keen, M. J., 1983. "How should commodities be taxed? : Market structure, product heterogeneity and the optimal structure of commodity taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 339-358, September.
  15. Gareth Myles, 1996. "Imperfect competition and the optimal combination of ad valorem and specific taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 29-44, January.
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