An alternative way to model merit good arguments
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- Discussion papers (SAM) 
Besley (1988) uses a scaling approach to model merit good arguments in commodity tax policy. In this paper, I question this approach on the grounds that it produces ’wrong’ recommendations—taxation (subsidisation) of merit (demerit) goods—whenever the demand for the (de)merit good is inelastic. I propose an alternative approach that does not suffer from this deficiency, and derive the ensuing first and second best tax rules, as well as the marginal cost expressions to perform tax reform analysis.
Revised October 2003
UtgiverNorwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Department of Economics