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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-12-12 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Pogue, Thomas F & Sgontz, Larry G, 1989. "Taxing to Control Social Costs: The Case of Alcohol," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 235-43, March.
- Henry Saffer & Frank Chaloupka, 1994. "Alcohol Tax Equalization and Social Costs," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 33-43, Winter.
- Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael Keen, 1998. "The balance between specific and ad valorem taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-37, February.
- Charles dh Parry & Bronwyn Myers & Michael Thiede, 2003. "The Case for an Increased Tax on Alcohol in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(2), pages 137-145, 06.
- Jonathan Gruber, 2001.
"Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis,"
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1, octubre-d.
- Michael Grossman, 1993. "Policy Watch: Alcohol and Cigarette Taxes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 211-222, Fall.
- David M. Cutler, 2002.
"Health Care and the Public Sector,"
NBER Working Papers
8802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Young, Douglas J & Bieli´nska-Kwapisz, Agnieszka, 2002. "Alcohol Taxes and Beverage Prices," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 57-73, March.
- Sijbren Cnossen, 2007. "Alcohol taxation and regulation in the European Union," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(6), pages 699-732, December.
- Sijbren Cnossen, 2006. "Alcohol Taxation and Regulation in the European Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 1821, CESifo Group Munich.
- Olga Lucia Acosta & Richard M. Bird, 2003. "The Dilemma of Decentralization in Colombia," International Tax Program Papers 0404, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
- Richard M Bird & Eric M Zolt, 2008.
"Tax policy in emerging countries,"
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy,
Pion Ltd, London, vol. 26(1), pages 73-86, February.
- Roy Bahl, 2011. "Taxing Soft Drinks," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1106, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2005. "The limited role of the personal income tax in developing countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 928-946, December.
- Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2010. "Taxing Alcohol In Africa: Reflections And Updates," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1031, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Richard M. Bird, 2013. "Foreign Advice and Tax Policy in Developing Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1307, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Bird).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.