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Preferential Taxation of E-Commerce: Imperfectly Competitive Retail Markets and Trade Costs

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  • Bo Sandemann Rasmussen

    () (Department of Economics, University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Abstract

E-commerce in physical goods enhances the degree of product market competition but leads also to higher trading costs as goods bought through the internet are shipped individually. Do these features of e-commerce support a case for granting preferential tax treatment to online shopping? This is investigated using a model with a domestic monopolistic retailer and foreign competitive producers that can either deliver a physical good to the retailer (ordinary trade) or directly to domestic consumers (e-commerce). Although it is possible to construct cases of strictly positive welfare effects the general result is that granting tax preferences to e-commerce will have ambiguous welfare consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, 2004. "Preferential Taxation of E-Commerce: Imperfectly Competitive Retail Markets and Trade Costs," Economics Working Papers 2004-9, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2004-9
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/afn/wp/04/wp04_09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brander, James & Krugman, Paul, 1983. "A 'reciprocal dumping' model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 313-321.
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    3. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "Optimally uniform commodity taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-361.
    4. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "In a World Without Borders: The Impact of Taxes on Internet Commerce," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 561-576.
    5. Donald Bruce & William Fox & Matthew Murray, 2003. "To Tax Or Not To Tax? The Case Of Electronic Commerce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 25-40, January.
    6. Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, 2004. "On the Possibility and Desirability of Taxing E-Commerce," Economics Working Papers 2004-8, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Andersen, Torben M. & Rasmussen, Bo Sandemann & Sorensen, Jan Rose, 1996. "Optimal fiscal policy in open economies with labour market distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 103-117, December.
    8. Goolsbee, Austan & Zittrain, Jonathan, 1999. "Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Taxing Internet Commerce," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(3), pages 413-428, September.
    9. Freund, Caroline L. & Weinhold, Diana, 2004. "The effect of the Internet on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 171-189, January.
    10. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    11. Zodrow, George R, 2003. "Network Externalities and Indirect Tax Preferences for Electronic Commerce," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(1), pages 79-97, January.
    12. Goolsbee, Austan & Zittrain, Jonathan, 1999. "Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Taxing Internet Commerce," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 413-28, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    E-commerce; imperfect competition; pro-competitive gains; trade diversion; commodity taxation; physical goods; trade costs;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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