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

  • Austan Goolsbee

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11994.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11994.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Publication status: published as Goolsbee Austan, 2006. "The Value of Broadband and the Deadweight Loss of Taxing New Technology," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11994
Note: IO PR PE
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  1. Jerry A. Hausman, 1997. "Valuing the Effect of Regulation on New Services in Telecommunications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 1-54.
  2. Hausman, Jerry, 1999. "Cellular Telephone, New Products, and the CPI," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(2), pages 188-94, April.
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  4. Austan Goolsbee & Peter J. Klenow, 1999. "Evidence on Learning and Network Externalities in the Diffusion of Home Computers," NBER Working Papers 7329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Sumner, Daniel A, 1981. "Measurement of Monopoly Behavior: An Application to the Cigarette Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 1010-19, October.
  8. Jerry Hausman, 1998. "Taxation by Telecommunications Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 29-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Downes, Tom & Greenstein, Shane, 2002. "Universal access and local internet markets in the US," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1035-1052, September.
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  11. Faulhaber, Gerald R & Hogendorn, Christiaan, 2000. "The Market Structure of Broadband Telecommunications," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 305-29, September.
  12. Walter Beckert, 2005. "Estimation of Heterogeneous Preferences, with an Application to Demand for Internet Services," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 495-502, August.
  13. Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1989. "The Welfare Analysis of Product Innovations, with an Application to Computed Tomography Scanners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 444-79, April.
  14. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  15. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2006. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 336-347, May.
  16. Austan Goolsbee & Amil Petrin, 2004. "The Consumer Gains from Direct Broadcast Satellites and the Competition with Cable TV," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 351-381, 03.
  17. Donald Bruce & John Deskins & William F. Fox, 2004. "Has Internet Access Taxation Affected Internet Use?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 32(2), pages 131-147, March.
  18. Berry, Steven T, 1992. "Estimation of a Model of Entry in the Airline Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 889-917, July.
  19. Timothy F. BRESNAHAN & Peter C.REISS, 1994. "Measuring the Importance of Sunk Costs," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 181-217.
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