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Oligopoly Deregulation and the Taxation of Commodities


  • Gilbert E. Metcalf
  • George Norman


We examine the interplay between market structure and the form that commodity taxation should take in a world in which firms produce differentiated products and so are able to exert some degree of market power. Our analysis takes explicit account of two important recent developments that carry significant implications for market structure and so for the appropriate design and effectiveness of commodity taxation: market deregulation and technological change. In the presence of price discrimination, we find that tax policy loses much of its effectiveness at serving as a substitute for direct regulation. Moreover, in cases where taxes can influence market structure, subsides rather than taxes may be required to achieve optimum market structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf & George Norman, 2003. "Oligopoly Deregulation and the Taxation of Commodities," NBER Working Papers 9415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9415
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kats, Amoz, 1995. "More on Hotelling's stability in competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 89-93, March.
    2. Kay, J. A. & Keen, M. J., 1983. "How should commodities be taxed? : Market structure, product heterogeneity and the optimal structure of commodity taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 339-358, September.
    3. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    4. Norman, George & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1999. "Technology Choice and Market Structure: Strategic Aspects of Flexible Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 345-372, September.
    5. Eaton, B Curtis & Schmitt, Nicolas, 1994. "Flexible Manufacturing and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 875-888, September.
    6. Novshek, William, 1980. "Equilibrium in simple spatial (or differentiated product) models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 313-326, April.
    7. Norman, George & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1996. "Product Variety and Welfare under Tough and Soft Pricing Regimes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 76-91, January.
    8. B. Curtis Eaton & Myrna Holtz Wooders, 1985. "Sophisticated Entry in a Model of Spatial Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 282-297, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf & George Norman, 2002. "Oligopoly Deregulation in General Equilibrium: A Tax Neutralization Result," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0210, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    2. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872 Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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