Unit versus Ad Valorem Taxes in Multiproduct Cournot Oligopoly

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Date
2011-02-01
Authors
Lapan, Harvey
Hennessy, David
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

The welfare dominance of ad valorem taxes over unit taxes in a single-market Cournot oligopoly is well known. This article extends the analysis to multimarket oligopoly. Provided all ad valorem taxes are equal and positive, unit costs are constant, firms are active in all considered markets, and a representative consumer has convex preferences, ad valorem taxes are shown to dominate in multiproduct equilibrium. Conditions exist, however, under which economic efficiency declines upon replacing specific taxes with ad valorem taxes that preserve output levels. We discuss the roles of unit cost covariances across multiproduct firms, and also of complementarity in demand, in determining the extent of cost efficiencies arising under ad valorem taxation. For goods that are complementary or independent in demand, conditions are found such that industry profits decline upon use of ad valorem taxes.

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This is a working paper of an article from Journal of Public Economic Theory 13 (2011): 125, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9779.2010.01495.x.

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