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Optimal excise taxation: theoretical analysis, empirical estimation, and policy recommendations with tax-collection and environmental implications

19th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Applied Economics

Senior Researcher : Miguel Ángel Borrella Mas

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad de Navarra. Pamplona.


As we stated in the original proposal, this project consists of several research lines that we plan to develop during the remaining execution period. The objective of the first one was to study how the differences that exist in the vertical market structure affect the fiscal incidence, given that this is key when trying to predict the effects (tax collection, dissuasive consumption of goods that generate externalities, etc.) of certain fiscal policies. This line of research resulted in the publication of a paper in The Economic Journal.

The second line of research aims to analyze whether governments should implement different taxes for different types of consumers, similar to the well-known price discrimination. Our main theoretical results derive from the formal development of a model that characterizes the optimal tax level that is applied when firms discriminate in prices. The next planned step is to apply this theoretical result to the empirical analysis by using price data from gas stations in Spain, documenting the possible gains in terms of tax collection/efficiency as a result of the implementation of the optimal tax rate that we characterize theoretically.

The third line of research, which emerged in the current context of relatively high fuel prices, aims to study the role that taxes play on social welfare. In particular, we are empirically studying the impact that multiple tax changes in several Autonomous Communities have on traffic accidents caused by speed. As preliminary results, we find that where fuel taxes increase, these types of accidents are significantly reduced. Our objective now is to quantify the impact of these results, as well as complement them with an analysis of heterogeneity by gender, in order to guide future public policies.

Finally, in line with the different environmental regulatory regimes that we study in the project, we have started two additional papers. First, we are studying the impact on the sale of polluting vehicles of some of the policies (eg, taxation, subsidies, access restrictions, etc.) introduced by the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law of 2021. Second, we also address the impact that recent regulatory changes have had on the decarbonisation of the transport sector. These complementary works are also in a development phase.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 1
Communications at national conferences 4
Communications at international conferences 5


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