In a World Without Borders: The Impact of Taxes on Internet Commerce
The rapid rise in sales over the Internet has generated debate over the taxation of such transactions since the buyers usually pay no sales tax. This paper uses new data on the purchase decisions of approximately 25,000 online users to examine the effects that local sales taxes have on Internet commerce. The results show that, controlling for many observable characteristics, people who live in locations with high sales taxes are significantly more likely to buy things over the Internet. The estimated tax responsiveness of both participation and spending are large and resemble the tax effects found in previous research on retail sales in geographic border areas. The results are quite robust; the tax sensitivity is clear nationally, within regions, within states, and even within metropolitan areas. Further results suggest that the tax effect cannot be explained by unobserved heterogeneity across cities. The magnitudes in the paper suggest that to apply existing sales taxes to Internet commerce would reduce the number of online buyers by 25% and spending by more than 30% with some specifications suggesting even larger effects.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Goolsbee, Austan. "In A World Without Borders: The Impact Of Taxes On Internet Commerce," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000, v115(2,May), 561-576.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
- Goolsbee, Austan & Klenow, Peter J, 2002.
"Evidence on Learning and Network Externalities in the Diffusion of Home Computers,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 317-43, October.
- 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.
- Oecd, 1998. "Electronic Commerce: Prices and Consumer Issues for Three Products: Books, Compact Discs and Software," OECD Digital Economy Papers 32, OECD Publishing.
- Roger H. Gordon, 1983. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 567-586.
- Trandel, Gregory A., 1992. "Evading the use tax on cross-border sales : Pricing and welfare effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 313-331, December.
- Mackie-Mason, J.K. & Varian, H.R., 1993.
"Pricing the Internet,"
20/1993, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Galbraith, John W. & Kaiserman, Murray, 1997. "Taxation, smuggling and demand for cigarettes in Canada: Evidence from time-series data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 287-301, June.
- Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 165-76, June.
- Timothy J. Besley & Harvey S. Rosen, 1998.
"Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis,"
NBER Working Papers
6667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993.
"Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-92, September.
- Ravi Kanbur & Michael Keen, 1991. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination when Countries Differ in Size," Working Papers 819, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- MINTZ, Jack & TULKENS, Henry, .
"Commodity tax competition between member states of a federation: equilibrium and efficiency,"
CORE Discussion Papers RP
693, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Mintz, Jack & Tulkens, Henry, 1986. "Commodity tax competition between member states of a federation: equilibrium and efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-172, March.
- Mintz, J. & Tulkens, H., 1984. "Commodity tax competition between member states of a federation: equilibrium and efficiency," CORE Discussion Papers 1984027, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Shane Greenstein, 1998. "Universal Service in the Digital Age: The Commercialization and Geography of U.S. Internet Access," NBER Working Papers 6453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, and the Supply of Capital Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 121-148.
- Fox, William F. & Murray, Matthew N., 1997. "The Sales Tax and Electronic Commerce: So What's New?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 573-92, September.
- Tom Downes & Shane Greenstein, 2000. "Universal Access and Local Commercial Internet Markets," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0017, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6863. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.