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The Power to Pass on Taxes - A Test for Tax Shifting based on Observables

Author

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  • Mario Jametti

    () (Istituto di Economia Politica (IdEP), Facoltà di Scienze Economiche, Università della Svizzera italiana, Svizzera)

  • Agustin Redonda

    () (Istituto di Economia Politica (IdEP), Facoltà di Scienze Economiche, Università della Svizzera italiana, Svizzera)

  • Anindya Sen

    () (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo, Canada)

Abstract

Since gasoline has a relatively inelastic demand, raising government revenue via gasoline taxes could appear appropriate as it entails a relatively small deadweight loss. However, gasoline retail is generally a highly concentrated market, hence the assumption of perfect competition when considering tax incidence might be misleading. Theoretically, in oligopolistic markets taxes can be shifted forward less (more) than proportionally to retail prices; a possibility usually denoted by undershifting (overshifting). Generally, this depends on unobservable parameters of the demand and cost functions. In this paper we device a novel empirical test, based on observables, to assess whether taxes are under- or overshifted in an oligopolistic market. The test depends on the interaction between market structure and taxes. We apply our test to the Canadian retail gasoline market using a panel data set of 10 cities, finding that gasoline taxes are undershifted.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario Jametti & Agustin Redonda & Anindya Sen, 2013. "The Power to Pass on Taxes - A Test for Tax Shifting based on Observables," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 1301, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
  • Handle: RePEc:lug:wpaper:1301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Salvador Barrios & Gaetan Nicodeme & Antonio Jesus Sanchez Fuentes, 2014. "Effective Corporate Taxation, Tax Incidence and Tax Reforms: Evidence from OECD Countries," Taxation Papers 45, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    2. Dora Benedek & Ruud A. de Mooij & Michael Keen & Philippe Wingender, 2015. "Estimating VAT Pass Through," CESifo Working Paper Series 5531, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Di Giacomo, Marina & Piacenza, Massimiliano & Scervini, Francesco & Turati, Gilberto, 2015. "Should we resurrect ‘TIPP flottante’ if oil price booms again? Specific taxes as fuel consumer price stabilizers," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 544-552.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax Incidence; Pass-through; Market Structure;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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