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Ad valorem versus unit taxes: Monopolistic competition, heterogeneous firms, and intra-industry reallocations

  • Philipp J.H. Schröder

    (Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)

  • Allan Sørensen

    ()

    (School of Economics and Management, Aarhus University, Denmark)

Real-world industries are composed from heterogeneous firms and substantial intra-industry reallocations take place, i.e. high productivity firms squeeze out low productivity firms. Previous tax-tool comparisons have not included these central forces of industry structure. This paper examines a general equilibrium monopolistic competition model with heterogeneous firms and intra-industry reallocations. We show that the welfare superiority of ad valorem over unit taxes under imperfect competition is not only preserved but amplified. The additional difference between the tools arises because unit taxes distort relative prices, which in turn reduces average industry productivity through reallocations (the survival and increased market share of lower productivity firms). Importantly, numerical solutions of the model reveal that the relative welfare loss from using the unit tax increases dramatically in the degree of firm heterogeneity.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2010-10.

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Length: 20
Date of creation: 23 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2010-10
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

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  1. X. Wang & Jingang Zhao, 2009. "On the efficiency of indirect taxes in differentiated oligopolies with asymmetric costs," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 96(3), pages 223-239, April.
  2. Junko Doi & Koichi Futagami, 2004. "Commodity Taxation and the Effects of Entry: A Case of Variety Preferences," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 267-279, December.
  3. Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "The Growth and Failure of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 671-98, November.
  4. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Simon P. Anderson & Andre de Palma & Brent Kreider, 2000. "The Efficiency of Indirect Taxes under Imperfect Competition," Virginia Economics Online Papers 342, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  7. Blackorby, Charles & Murty, Sushama, 2006. "Unit Versus Ad Valorem Taxes : Monopoly In General Equilibrium," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 761, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Michael Keen, 1998. "The balance between specific and ad valorem taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-37, February.
  9. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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