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2007-12-15 | Peer Reviewed

Are demand elasticities affected by politically determined tax levels?

Flood, L., N Islam and T Sterner Are demand elasticities affected by politically determined tax levels?, Applied Economics Letters, Accepted October 2007.
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Raising the price of fossil fuels is a key component of any effective policy to deal with climate change. Just how effective such policies are is decided by the price elasticities of demand. Many papers have studied this without recognising that not only is there a demand side response: quantities are decided by the price but also there is a reverse causality: the level of consumtion affects the political acceptability of the taxes which are the main component of the final price. Thus prices affect consumption levels, in turn, have an affect on taxes and thus consumer prices. This paper estimates these functions simultaneously to show that there is indeed an effect on the demand elasticity.