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The Micro-geography of Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Littered Cigarette Packs in Chicago

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  • David Merriman

Abstract

The large tax differentials between Chicago and neighboring jurisdictions provide an incentive for cigarette tax avoidance. Data from a random sample of cigarette packs littered in Chicago reveals a startling degree of tax avoidance: three-quarters did not display a Chicago tax stamp. Also, the $2.68 difference between the tax in Chicago and surrounding counties decreases the probability of a local stamp by almost 60 percent, and a one mile increase in distance to the lower-tax state border increases the probability a pack of a local stamp by about one percent. These results are consistent with the predictions of economic theory. (JEL H25, H26, H71)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 61-84

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:61-84

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.2.61
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Cited by:
  1. David Agrawal & William H. Hoyt, 2014. "State Tax Differentials, Cross-Border Commuting, and Commuting Times in Multi-State Metropolitan Areas," CESifo Working Paper Series 4852, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Johansson, Per & Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Verho, Jouko, 2014. "Cross-border health and productivity effects of alcohol policies," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 125-136.
  3. Kevin Callison & Robert Kaestner, 2014. "Do Higher Tobacco Taxes Reduce Adult Smoking? New Evidence Of The Effect Of Recent Cigarette Tax Increases On Adult Smoking," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 155-172, 01.
  4. Brian Knight, 2013. "State Gun Policy and Cross-State Externalities: Evidence from Crime Gun Tracing," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 200-229, November.
  5. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Donald & Liu, Feng, 2013. "Excise tax avoidance: The case of state cigarette taxes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1130-1141.
  6. David Agrawal, 2012. "Games within borders: are geographically differentiated taxes optimal?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 574-597, August.
  7. James Alm & Mikhail I. Melnik, 2012. "Does Online Cross-border Shopping Affect State Use Tax Liabilities?," Working Papers 1206, Tulane University, Department of Economics.

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