Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Papers of Business and Economics,
University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics

No 7/2015: Fiscal and Economic Aspects of Book Consumption in the European Union

Karol J. Borowiecki () and Trilce Navarrete ()
Additional contact information
Karol J. Borowiecki: Department of Business and Economics, Postal: University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark
Trilce Navarrete: Department of Business and Economics, Postal: University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

Abstract: One of the available and yet underappreciated tools in cultural policy at the national level is the reduction of VAT rates for cultural goods and services. We document the standard and reduced VAT rates in EU-28 countries in the period from 1993 to 2013 and explore the underlying determinants. We further introduce a simple theoretical framework to explain how reduced fiscal rates are expected to decrease prices and increase quantities of the consumed cultural goods and services. We then estimate quantitatively that a decrease in the VAT rate for books by one percentage point is associated with an economically significant drop in the price by 2.6 percent. Finally, we show the positive effect of a fiscal rate reduction on the book expenditure of well-off households, where a one percentage point decrease in the VAT rate for books leads to an increase in expenditure by 2.7 percent.

Keywords: Cultural consumption; book markets; cultural policy; value added tax; fiscal policy

JEL-codes: H21; H31; I30; K34; Z11

29 pages, April 15, 2015

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