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Excise Taxation and Product Quality: The Gasoline Market

  • T Nesbit
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    Following Barzel (1976), product quality increases in response to unit taxation but remains unchanged by ad valorem taxation.? While many tax theorists agree this argument is theoretically sound, empirical support of Barzel's theory is limited to the cigarette market.? This paper tests and confirms his theory in the gasoline market, a market in which Barzel failed to find supporting evidence in his original article.? Using a direct test and improved data, the estimates suggest that the market share of premium-grade gasoline increases in response to both unit taxation and ad valorem taxation.

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    Article provided by Economic Issues in its journal Economic Issues.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 1-14

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    Handle: RePEc:eis:articl:207nesbit
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    1. Leffler, Keith B, 1982. "Ambiguous Changes in Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 956-67, December.
    2. Archibald, Robert & Gillingham, Robert, 1980. "An Analysis of the Short-Run Consumer Demand for Gasoline Using Household Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 622-28, November.
    3. Cowen, Tyler & Tabarrok, Alexander, 1995. "Good Grapes and Bad Lobsters: Applying the Alchian and Allen Theorem," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 253-56, April.
    4. Barzel, Yoram, 1976. "An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1177-97, December.
    5. David Paton & Donald S. Siegel & Leighton Vaughan Williams, 2002. "A Policy Response To The E--Commerce Revolution: The Case Of Betting Taxation In The UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F296-F314, June.
    6. Johnson, Terry R, 1978. "Additional Evidence on the Effects of Alternative Taxes on Cigarette Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 325-28, April.
    7. Bertonazzi, Eric P & Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1993. "Some Evidence on the Alchian and Allen Theorem: The Third Law of Demand?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 383-93, July.
    8. Sumner, Michael T & Ward, Robert, 1981. "Tax Changes and Cigarette Prices [An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1261-65, December.
    9. Borcherding, Thomas E & Silberberg, Eugene, 1978. "Shipping the Good Apples Out: The Alchian and Allen Theorem Reconsidered," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 131-38, February.
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