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Failure of Ad Valorem and Specific Tax Equivalence under Uncertainty

  • Laszlo Goerke


    (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EU, University of Trier)

  • Frederik Herzberg


  • Thorsten Upmann


Applying a framework of perfect competition under uncertainty, we contribute to the discussion of whether or not ad valorem taxes and specific taxes are equivalent. While this equivalence holds without price uncertainty, we show that ad valorem taxes and specific taxes are “almost never” equivalent in the presence of uncertainty if we demand equivalence to hold pathwise. Since we obtain this result under perfect competition, our analysis also provides a further rationale for why the equivalence must fail under imperfect competition.

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Paper provided by Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) in its series IAAEU Discussion Papers with number 201205.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:iaa:dpaper:201205
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  1. Dickie, M. & Trandel, G.A., 1993. "Comparing Specific and Ad Vaslorem Pigouvian Taxes and Output Quotas," Papers 431, Georgia - College of Business Administration, Department of Economics.
  2. Laszlo Goerke, 2011. "Commodity tax structure under uncertainty in a perfectly competitive market," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 103(3), pages 203-219, July.
  3. Runkel, Marco & Hoffmann, Magnus, 2012. "Why Countries Compete in Ad Valorem Instead of Unit Capital Taxes," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62079, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Philipp J. H. Schröder, 2003. "The Comparison between Ad Valorem and Unit Taxes under Monopolistic Competition," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 333, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Anderson, Simon & de Palma, Andre & Kreider, Brent, 2001. "The Efficiency of Indirect Taxes Under Imperfect Competition," Staff General Research Papers 5203, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Blackorby, Charles & Murty, Sushama, 2007. "Unit versus ad valorem taxes: Monopoly in general equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 817-822, April.
  7. Kind, Hans Jarle & Koethenbuerger, Marko & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2009. "On Revenue and Welfare Dominance of Ad Valorem Taxes in Two-Sided Markets," Discussion Papers 2009/9, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
  8. Skeath, Susan E. & Trandel, Gregory A., 1994. "A Pareto comparison of ad valorem and unit taxes in noncompetitive environments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-71, January.
  9. Susanne Dröge & Philipp Schröder, 2009. "The welfare comparison of corrective ad valorem and unit taxes under monopolistic competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 164-175, April.
  10. Fraser, R. W., 1985. "Commodity taxes under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 127-134, October.
  11. Liqun Liu, 2003. "Relative Efficiency of AD Valorem and Unit Taxes: The Case of Endogenous Quality," Public Finance Review, , vol. 31(3), pages 291-301, May.
  12. Stephen F. Hamilton, 2009. "Excise Taxes with Multiproduct Transactions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 458-71, March.
  13. Ben Lockwood, 2004. "Competition in Unit vs. Ad Valorem Taxes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(6), pages 763-772, November.
  14. Sofia Delipalla & Michael Keen, 2006. "Product Quality and the Optimal Structure of Commodity Taxes," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(4), pages 547-554, October.
  15. Harvey E. Lapan & David A. Hennessy, 2011. "Unit versus Ad Valorem Taxes in Multiproduct Cournot Oligopoly," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 125-138, 02.
  16. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
  17. Hamilton, Stephen F., 1999. "The comparative efficiency of ad valorem and specific taxes under monopoly and monopsony," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 235-238, May.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:93-111 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Lisa Grazzini, 2006. "A Note on Ad Valorem and Per Unit Taxation in an Oligopoly Model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 59-74, October.
  20. Sophia Delipalla, 2009. "Tobacco Tax Structure and Smuggling," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(1), pages 93-104, March.
  21. Francis K. Cheung, 1998. "Excise Tax on a Non-Uniform Pricing Monopoly: Ad Valorem and Unit Taxes Compared," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1192-1203, November.
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