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Registration Taxes on Cars Inducing International Price Discrimination: An Optimal Tariff Approach

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  • Switgard Feuerstein

Abstract

Pre-tax car prices are particularly low in EU countries with high registration taxes but no car production, meaning that the tax is equivalent to an import tariff and induces international price discrimination. The paper develops a theorectical model to analyse the European Commission's policy of facilitating arbitrage and thereby reducing car price differences. The effects on prices, quantities and welfare depend crucially on whether the tax is exogenous or whether it is set optimally by the importing country. The optimal tax rate depends positively on the car manufacturers' scope to price discriminate. Thus when arbitrage costs fall, tax rates are reduced.

Suggested Citation

  • Switgard Feuerstein, "undated". "Registration Taxes on Cars Inducing International Price Discrimination: An Optimal Tariff Approach," Discussion Papers 07/45, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:07/45
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    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/documents/papers/2007/07-45.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Frank Verboven, 2001. "The Evolution of Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 811-848.
    2. Mertens, Yves & Ginsburgh, Victor, 1985. "Product Differentiation and Price Discrimination in the European Community: The Case of Automobiles," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 151-166, December.
    3. Holmes, Thomas J, 1989. "The Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 244-250, March.
    4. Varian, Hal R, 1985. "Price Discrimination and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 870-875, September.
    5. Matthias Lutz, 2004. "Pricing in Segmented Markets, Arbitrage Barriers, and the Law of One Price: Evidence from the European Car Market," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 456-475, August.
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