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The Size Distribution of Firms, Cournot, and Optimal Taxation

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  • Mark Gersovitz

Abstract

Tax laws and administrations often treat different size firms differently. There is, however, little research on the consequences. As modeled here, oligopolists with different efficiencies determine the size distribution of firms. A government that maximizes a weighted sum of consumer surplus, profits, and tax receipts can tax firms with different efficiencies differently and provides a reference point for other, more restricted differential tax systems. Taxes include a specific sales tax, an ad valorem sales tax, and a profits tax with imperfect deductibility of capital cost, and a combination of the last two. In general there is a pattern of tax rates by efficiency of firm. It is heavily dependent on the social valuation of tax receipts. Analytic and simulation results are provided. When both ad valorem taxes and the imperfect profits tax are combined, simulations suggest that the former rate is higher and the latter rate is lower for relatively inefficient firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Gersovitz, 2006. "The Size Distribution of Firms, Cournot, and Optimal Taxation," IMF Working Papers 06/271, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/271
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Delipalla, Sofia & Keen, Michael, 1992. "The comparison between ad valorem and specific taxation under imperfect competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 351-367.
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    3. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1075-1090.
    4. Kanbur, S M, 1979. "Of Risk Taking and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 769-797, August.
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    6. Keen, Michael & Mintz, Jack, 2004. "The optimal threshold for a value-added tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 559-576, March.
    7. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Varian, Hal R., 1985. "Two remarks on Cournot equilibria," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 5-8.
    8. Gareth Myles, 1996. "Imperfect competition and the optimal combination of ad valorem and specific taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(1), pages 29-44, January.
    9. Leahy, Dermot & Montagna, Catia, 2001. "Strategic Trade Policy with Heterogeneous Costs," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 177-182, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Langenmayr, Dominika & Haufler, Andreas & Bauer, Christian J., 2015. "Should tax policy favor high- or low-productivity firms?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 18-34.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic models; Profits; Tax rates; Taxation; Optimal tax; size distribution; imperfect competition; ad valorem; social welfare; tax receipts; sales tax; Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Firm;

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