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The Value of Broadband and the Deadweight Loss of Taxing New Technology

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  • Austan Goolsbee

Abstract

With fixed costs of developing technology, taxes can generate large efficiency costs by slowing the rate of diffusion and these costs are not accounted for in conventional analyses. This paper illustrates this by analyzing the impact that taxes would have had on broadband Internet access at an early stage of its diffusion around the country, combining data on individual demand by area with data on supplier entry in those markets. Applying a tax to broadband in 1998 would have reduced the quantity and generate a large deadweight loss in the conventional model but when the analysis accounts for the fixed costs of entering new markets, taxes would have also delayed entry in several markets. In these places, the lost consumer surplus from delay is an additional deadweight loss and it more than doubles the estimated efficiency costs of taxation. The conventional model also dramatically understates the share of tax burden that would have been borne by customers.

Suggested Citation

  • Austan Goolsbee, 2006. "The Value of Broadband and the Deadweight Loss of Taxing New Technology," NBER Working Papers 11994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11994
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    Cited by:

    1. Pollock, R., 2009. "The Economics of Public Sector Information," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0920, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Pereira, Pedro & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2011. "The impact on broadband access to the Internet of the dual ownership of telephone and cable networks," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 283-293, March.
    3. Carare, Octavian & McGovern, Chris & Noriega, Raquel & Schwarz, Jay, 2015. "The willingness to pay for broadband of non-adopters in the U.S.: Estimates from a multi-state survey," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 19-35.
    4. Stijn Ferrari & Frank Verboven & Hans Degryse, 2010. "Investment and Usage of New Technologies: Evidence from a Shared ATM Network," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1046-1079, June.
    5. Fatao Wang & Lihui Ding & Hongxin Yu & Yuanjun Zhao, 2020. "Big data analytics on enterprise credit risk evaluation of e-Business platform," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 311-350, September.
    6. Urama, Nathaniel E. & Ogbu, Osita, 2018. "Evaluating consumer perception and willingness to pay for broadband in Nigeria," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 421-432.
    7. Robert C. Seamans, 2012. "Fighting City Hall: Entry Deterrence and Technology Upgrades in Cable TV Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(3), pages 461-475, March.
    8. Roberto Burguet & R. McAfee, 2009. "License prices for financially constrained firms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 178-198, October.
    9. Economides, Nicholas & Tåg, Joacim, 2012. "Network neutrality on the Internet: A two-sided market analysis," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 91-104.
    10. Dutz Mark A. & Orszag Jonathan M. & Willig Robert D., 2012. "The Liftoff of Consumer Benefits from the Broadband Revolution," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 1-34, December.
    11. Austan Goolsbee, 2001. "The Implications of Electronic Commerce for Fiscal Policy (and Vice Versa)," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 13-23, Winter.
    12. Stijn Ferrari & Frank Verboven & Hans Degryse, 2010. "Investment and Usage of New Technologies: Evidence from a Shared ATM Network," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1046-1079, June.
    13. Mélisande Cardona & Anton Schwarz & B. Yurtoglu & Christine Zulehner, 2009. "Demand estimation and market definition for broadband Internet services," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 70-95, February.
    14. Gao, Maija & Hyytinen, Ari & Toivanen, Otto, 2005. "Demand for Mobile Internet: Evidence from a Real-World Pricing Experiment," Discussion Papers 964, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    15. Victor Glass & Stela Stefanova, 2010. "An empirical study of broadband diffusion in rural America," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 70-85, August.
    16. Prieger, James E. & Hu, Wei-Min, 2008. "The broadband digital divide and the nexus of race, competition, and quality," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 150-167, June.
    17. Fatao Wang & Lihui Ding & Hongxin Yu & Yuanjun Zhao, 0. "Big data analytics on enterprise credit risk evaluation of e-Business platform," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-40.

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    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

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