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Should Utility-Reducing Media Advertising be Taxed?

  • Hans Jarle Kind
  • Marko Köthenbürger
  • Guttorm Schjelderup

Empirical evidence suggests that people dislike ads in media products like TV programs. In such situations standard economic theory prescribes that the advertising volume can be optimally reduced by levying a tax on ads. However, making use of recent advances in the theory of Industrial Organization and two-sided markets we show that taxing ads may be counterproductive. In particular, we identify a number of situations in which ad-adverse consumers are negatively affected by the tax, and we even show that the tax may lead to higher ad volumes. This unorthodox reaction to a tax may arise when consumers significantly dislike ads, i.e. in situations where traditional arguments for corrective taxes are strongest.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2589.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2589
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  1. Hans Jarle Kind & Tore Nilssen & Lars Sørgard, 2006. "Competition for Viewers and Advertisers in a TV Oligopoly," CESifo Working Paper Series 1862, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Tax Incidence," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0607, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    • Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872 Elsevier.
  3. GABSZEWICZ, Jean & LAUSSEL, Didier & SONNAC, Nathalie, 2002. "Attitudes toward advertising and price competition in the press industry," CORE Discussion Papers 2002026, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521016919 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Kenneth C. Wilbur, 2008. "A Two-Sided, Empirical Model of Television Advertising and Viewing Markets," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(3), pages 356-378, 05-06.
  6. Anderson, Simon P & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold, 2005. "The Media and Advertising: A Tale of Two-Sided Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5223, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Evans David S., 2003. "Some Empirical Aspects of Multi-sided Platform Industries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-19, September.
  8. Hans Jarle Kind & Marko Koethenbuerger & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2006. "Taxation in Two-Sided Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1871, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521816632 is not listed on IDEAS
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