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Tobacco taxes and regressivity

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  • Gospodinov, Nikolay
  • Irvine, Ian

Abstract

Recent literature on tobacco taxation suggests that optimal tax rates should be very high. But such high taxes raise concerns over regressivity. Most econometric estimates of elasticities by income group use historic price data that are low, and the usefulness of such estimates is therefore questionable on account of the serious 'out of sample' prediction problem. To address that problem, this paper estimates price elasticities for different socioeconomic groups using recent Canadian survey data for a period during which prices rose to a level of about $7 per pack. The results provide little reason to overturn the traditional concerns about regressivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 375-384

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:375-384

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

Related research

Keywords: Tobacco taxes Regressivity Demand elasticities;

References

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  1. Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
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  11. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel & Diana Stech, 1999. "Tobacco Taxes and Public Policy to Discourage Smoking," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, volume 13, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Greg Colman & Dahlia K. Remler, 2004. "Vertical Equity Consequences of Very High Cigarette Tax Increases: If the Poor are the Ones Smoking, How Could Cigarette Tax Increases be Progressive?," NBER Working Papers 10906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Gospodinov Nikolay & Irvine Ian J., 2004. "Global Health Warnings on Tobacco Packaging: Evidence from the Canadian Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, November.
  16. Galbraith, John W. & Kaiserman, Murray, 1997. "Taxation, smuggling and demand for cigarettes in Canada: Evidence from time-series data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 287-301, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Davide, Dragone & Francesco, Manaresi & Luca, Savorelli, 2013. "Obesity and smoking: can we catch two birds with one tax?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-31, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Donald S. Kenkel & Maximilian D. Schmeiser & Carly J. Urban, 2014. "Is Smoking Inferior? Evidence from Variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 20097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ian Irvine, 2008. "Smoking Intensity, Compensatory Behavior and Tobacco Tax Policy," Working Papers 200818, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.

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