DP4470 Horizontal and Vertical Indirect Tax Competition: Theory and Some Evidence From the USA

Author(s): Michael P. Devereux, Ben Lockwood, Michela Redoano
Publication Date: July 2004
Keyword(s): cross-border shopping, excise taxes, smuggling, tax competitions
JEL(s): H70, H71, H77
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4470

This Paper provides a simple theoretical framework for analysing simultaneous vertical and horizontal competition in excise taxes, and estimates equations informed by the theory on a panel of US state and federal excise taxes on cigarettes and gasoline. We also examine the role played by smuggling. The results are generally consistent with the theory, when the characteristics of the markets for the goods are taken into account. For neither good do federal excise taxes affect state taxes. Taxes in neighbouring states have a significant and large effect in the case of cigarettes, and a much weaker effect in the case of gasoline. We also find that in the setting of cigarette taxes, concerns about cross-border shopping play a more important role than concerns about smuggling.