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GST Reform in Australia: Implications of Estimating Price Elasticities of Demand for Food

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  • Syed Abul Hasan
  • Mathias Sinning

Abstract

This paper uses detailed information about household supermarket purchases from the Australian Nielsen Homescan Survey to estimate price elasticities of demand for a range of food categories. An instrumental variable strategy is employed to address endogeneity issues. The estimates obtained from our analysis are used to study five scenarios in which the rate of the GST on food categories is increased or in which the tax base is broadened to include currently GST-free categories. Our findings reveal that there is considerable scope for raising revenue by increasing the rate and broadening the tax base. Low-income households (the bottom 40% of the income distribution) can be compensated for the loss in consumption induced by a tax increase. We demonstrate that increasing the rate of the GST from 10% to 15% and broadening the tax base would increase tax revenues by up to $8.6 billion, whereas compensating lowincome households would require up to $2.2 billion. We also provide a detailed list of tax revenues and compensation payments associated with each food category to allow readers to “build their own tax reform” by choosing the categories that should be taxed.

Suggested Citation

  • Syed Abul Hasan & Mathias Sinning, 2017. "GST Reform in Australia: Implications of Estimating Price Elasticities of Demand for Food," Crawford School Research Papers 1705, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:crwfrp:1705
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    Cited by:

    1. Syed Hasan & Nazmun Ratna & Shamim Shakur, 2019. "Exchange rate, remittances and expenditure of foreign-bornhouseholds: evidence from Australia," Discussion Papers 1901, School of Economics and Finance, Massey University, New Zealand.
    2. Lorraine Conway & David Prentice, 2020. "How Much do Households Respond to Electricity Prices? Evidence from Australia and Abroad," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 39(3), pages 290-311, September.
    3. Hasan, Syed & Shakur, Shamim & Breunig, Robert, 2021. "Exchange rates and expenditure of households with foreign-born members: Evidence from Australia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 977-997.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household Consumption; Food Price Elasticity; Tax Reform;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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