Revenue functions and Dupuit curves for indirect taxes with cross-border shopping
Jørgen Aasness and Nygård Odd Erik
Photo: International Tax and Public Finance
International Tax and Public Finance, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 272 - 297
Norway imposes some of the highest tax rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco in the world, making, e.g., cross-border shopping an attractive activity for Norwegians. In light of this fact, we pose the question: Could we increase the total tax revenue from indirect taxes by decreasing tax rates on, e.g., spirits in Norway? When using an empirically based consumer model including cross-border shopping, taxfree shopping, and smuggling, we do find revenue curves implying total tax Revenue maximizing tax rates. But we also find that these tax rates are always higher than the observed tax rates, i.e., suggesting that the answer to our question is no. In addition, we compare our results to a closed economy setting without cross-border shopping, etc. We find that the existence of cross-border shopping, etc. affects the shape of the revenue curves somewhat, although not dramatically.