Efficiency and Equity of an Outdoor Recreation Equipment Tax to Fund Public Lands

Margaret Walls and Matthew Ashenfarb


We analyze the efficiency and equity implications of a federal excise tax on outdoor recreation equipment for funding U.S. public lands. Using microdata on consumer expenditure, we estimate a two-stage quadratic almost ideal demand system for recreation equipment and simulate the effects of a 5% tax. The tax generates a modest welfare loss as a share of tax revenues raised: $0.04 for every $1 of revenue. It is approximately proportional to income across the entire income distribution, but households in the lowest-income quintile pay more as a share of income than do households in the other four income quintiles.


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