Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Papers,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science

No 2011/3: Media Firm Strategy and Advertising Taxes

Hans Jarle Kind , Marko Koethenbuerger () and Guttorm Schjelderup ()
Additional contact information
Hans Jarle Kind: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Marko Koethenbuerger: Dept. of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Postal: University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics, Ă˜ster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark,
Guttorm Schjelderup: Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Finance and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that people dislike ads in TV programs and other media products. In such situations standard economic theory prescribes that the advertising volume can be optimally reduced by levying a tax on ads. However, making use of recent advances in the theory of firm behavior in two-sided markets, we show that taxation of ads may be counterproductive. In particular, we identify a number of situations in which ad-adverse consumers are negatively affected by the tax, and we even show that the tax may lead to higher ad volumes. This unorthodox reaction to a tax may arise when consumers significantly dislike ads, i.e. in situations where traditional arguments for corrective taxes are strongest.

Keywords: Two-sided markets; media market; pricing strategy; taxation

JEL-codes: H20

27 pages, February 21, 2011

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