Taxing Alcohol in Africa: Reflections from International Experience
AbstractGovernments exist, in part, to cope with the weaknesses of their citizens and subsist, to some extent, on the basis of those same weaknesses. Alcoholic beverages have long played a critical role on both sides of this equation. Over-indulgence in drink is a factor in crime, injury, and illness. It is also a potentially lucrative source of tax revenue. From a public policy perspective, alcohol thus has two faces: viewed from one side, it is a villain giving rise to social problems and consequently the need for public expenditure; viewed from the other, however, it is a hero riding to the rescue with copious fiscal returns. This ambivalence has, over the years, led to many hypotheses with respect to how much and how to tax alcohol and not a little hypocrisy in the public discussion of this question. This paper summarize the current state of the art of taxing alcohol around the world, and draws from international experience some implications for sub-Saharan African governments that are wrestling with the apparently eternal conundrums and trade-offs that confound alcohol tax policy everywhere.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series International Tax Program Papers with number 0304.
Length: 50 Pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision: Nov 2003
Alcohol taxation; excise taxes; Africa;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
- O55 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
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