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Edgeworth’s Taxation Paradox and the Nature of Demand and Supply Functions

  • Harold Hotelling
Chapter
  • 427 Downloads

Abstract

That a tax imposed on the seller of a monopolized article may lead to an actual lowering of the price to the buyer has been shown by F. Y. Edgeworth.2 His example was of a railway supplying two classes of passenger service at different prices and, unhindered by governmental interference, setting its rates so as to make its own profit a maximum. When the company is compelled to pay a tax on each first-class ticket, it finds it profitable, in Edgeworth’s example, to reduce rates on both classes of accommodations. Regarding this paradoxical conclusion, Professor Seligman writes:3

The mathematics which can show that the result of a tax is to cheapen the untaxed as well as the taxed commodities will surely be a grateful boon to the perplexed and weary secretaries of the treasury and ministers of finance throughout the world!

Keywords

Demand Function Integrability Condition Demand Curve Supply Function Supply Curve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Hotelling
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityUSA

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