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Corrective Tax Design and Market Power

Martin O'Connell and Kate Smith

No 14582, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We study the design of taxes aimed at limiting externalities in markets characterized by differentiated products and imperfect competition. In such settings policy must balance distortions from externalities with those associated with the exercise of market power; the optimal tax rate depends on the nature of external harms, how the degree of market power among externality generating products compares with non-taxed alternatives, and how consumers switch across these products. We apply the framework to taxation of sugar sweetened beverages. We use detailed data on the UK market for drinks to estimate consumer demand and oligopoly pricing for the differentiated products in the market. We show the welfare maximizing tax rate leads to welfare improvements over 2.5 times as large as that associated with policy that ignores distortions associated with the exercise of market power.

Keywords: Externality; Corrective tax; market power; Oligopoly (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D43 D62 H21 H23 L13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-eur, nep-pbe, nep-pub and nep-reg
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

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