Tax burden context-rich problem

Joann Bangs, St. Catherine University
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
Initial Publication Date: November 13, 2009


Students are asked to write a letter to the editor of their newspaper to explain their point of view as a seller in a market that is about to experience an increased sales tax rate.

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Learning Goals

Students will learn how to apply the concept of tax burden in a realistic setting.

Context for Use

This activity can be completed in any size class. The instructions ask for a written letter to the editor to be prepared. This writing could take place inside or outside of class time. Students could work on this problem individually or in small groups.

Description and Teaching Materials

You own a grocery store in the city of Minneapolis. As you read the paper this morning you discover that a proposal to fund a new football stadium in Minneapolis includes raising the sales tax in the city of Minneapolis by making it 0.5% higher for all sales within the city limits. Compose a letter to the editor of your newspaper to explain your point of view on this proposal.

Student handout for tax burden context-rich problem (Rich Text File 31kB May28 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Students will need to be familiar with the concept of tax burden and how elasticity influences the distribution of tax burden.


The instructions ask the students to write a letter to the editor. This letter can be used to assess the students' learning.

References and Resources