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A penny for your thoughts: e-mail and the under-valuation of expert time

By Chris Willmore


The cost incurred by the sender of an e-mail does not reflect the costs to the recipient, leading to a larger number of messages being sent than is optimal for the general welfare. As a solution, we suggest a per-message e-mail tax on the sender similar to that proposed by Shiman (1996), with the addition of a recipient-determined 'contact list'. The recipient derives utility from messages sent by those on this list, and they are not to be taxed when sending messages to the recipient. We recommend that the tax revenue be divided between a regulating body and the e-mail recipient's Internet service provider

Topics: HN
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 1999
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