Sales Tax Competition and a Multinational with a Decreasing Marginal Cost

24 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2011 Last revised: 7 Apr 2011

See all articles by Alexei Alexandrov

Alexei Alexandrov; Independent

Özlem Bedre-Defolie

ESMT European School of Management and Technology; University of Bergen, Economics Department; CEPR IO

Date Written: March 24, 2011


We examine a multinational firm which has a decreasing marginal cost, and the optimal sales tax policies of the regions where that firm operates. We show that the regions set higher sales taxes than those given by a cooperative equilibrium. Each region fails to fully internalize the effects of its tax level on another region's welfare and the incentives for that region's authority. Exponential cost functions which exhibit economies of scale (for example Cobb-Douglas) and linear demand functions satisfy our assumptions. Our results suggest the need to coordinate sales tax levels between countries and between smaller entities, like states in the United States. Smaller regions benefit more from such coordination. Lowering sales taxes in each region increases welfare for all regions, profits for firms, and consumer welfare.

Keywords: tax competition, sales taxes, multinationals, decreasing marginal cost, economies of scale

JEL Classification: F12, F23, H25, H71

Suggested Citation

Alexandrov, Alexei and Alexandrov, Alexei and Bedre-Defolie, Özlem, Sales Tax Competition and a Multinational with a Decreasing Marginal Cost (March 24, 2011). ESMT Working Paper No. 11-01, Available at SSRN: or

Alexei Alexandrov

Independent ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

Özlem Bedre-Defolie (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
+49(0)30212311531 (Phone)


University of Bergen, Economics Department ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007

CEPR IO ( email )

United Kingdom

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