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The Economics of Duty-Free Shopping

  • Vidar Christiansen
  • Stephen Smith

In 1999 the EU abolished duty-free on intra-EU travel, whilst other countries still retain duty-free shopping for international travellers. We address several aspects of duty-free trade, including effects on consumption, revenue and price-setting. From a global perspective we identify the distortions generated by duty-free trade. We review, and dismiss, various arguments that might conceivably support a role for duty-free in promoting global economic welfare. The existence of duty-free trade is explained as a phenomenon that individual countries find in their national self interest as seen both from the arrival and the departure end, i.e. countries have reasons both to admit duty-free goods and to permit their sale to departing passengers.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 595.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_595
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  1. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-92, September.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521497695 is not listed on IDEAS
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