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Using Empirical Point Elasticities to Teach Tax Incidence

John Swinton () and Christopher Thomas ()

The Journal of Economic Education, 2001, vol. 32, issue 4, 356-368

Abstract: Using point elasticities rather than using either arc elasticities or slopes of demand and supply curves provides the best method for teaching students about the economic impacts of excise taxes. Not only does a point-elasticity approach simplify theoretical analysis of tax impacts, but it also allows instructors to take advantage of publicly available empirical estimates of demand and supply elasticities to show students how theoretical results can be applied to real-world tax policy issues. To illustrate these advantages, the authors use several available estimates of point elasticities of demand and supply of raw sugar to calculate the economic impacts of a recently proposed penny-per-pound tax on raw cane sugar grown in the Florida Everglades.

Date: 2001
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DOI: 10.1080/00220480109596114

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