Beyond Pigouvian Taxes: A Worst Case Analysis [article]

Moshe Babaioff, Ruty Mundel, Noam Nisan
2021 arXiv   pre-print
In the early 20^th century, Pigou observed that imposing a marginal cost tax on the usage of a public good induces a socially efficient level of use as an equilibrium. Unfortunately, such a "Pigouvian" tax may also induce other, socially inefficient, equilibria. We observe that this social inefficiency may be unbounded, and study whether alternative tax structures may lead to milder losses in the worst case, i.e. to a lower price of anarchy. We show that no tax structure leads to bounded losses
more » ... in the worst case. However, we do find a tax scheme that has a lower price of anarchy than the Pigouvian tax, obtaining tight lower and upper bounds in terms of a crucial parameter that we identify. We generalize our results to various scenarios that each offers an alternative to the use of a public road by private cars, such as ride sharing, or using a bus or a train.
arXiv:2107.12023v2 fatcat:ttqjsjottngtpfv2sm5hghac64