IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v21y2007i1p49-68.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Taxing Consumption and Other Sins

Author

Listed:
  • James R. Hines Jr.

Abstract

Federal and state governments in the United States use income and payroll taxes as their primary tools to collect revenue. Relative to the United States, governments in the rest of the world rely much more heavily on taxing consumption. Heavy American reliance on income rather than consumption taxation has not served the U.S. economy well. The inefficiency associated with taxing the return to capital means that the tax system reduces investment in the United States and distorts intertemporal consumption by Americans. While the economic logic of consumption taxation is compelling even for a closed economy, it is even more powerful for an open economy exposed to the world capital market. Consumption taxes in the form of excises can be designed to help protect the environment and control other externalities. Excise taxes can also serve the function of more closely aligning tax burdens with the benefits that taxpayers receive from certain government services. Understandable concerns arise about the distributional consequences of consumption taxation, but a system that relies heavily on consumption taxes, particularly if accompanied by an income tax, can be as progressive as any income tax the United States would realistically want to adopt.

Suggested Citation

  • James R. Hines Jr., 2007. "Taxing Consumption and Other Sins," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 49-68, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:1:p:49-68
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.1.49
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.1.49
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-330, May.
    2. Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002. "Taxation and economic efficiency," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421 Elsevier.
    3. Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2007. "Faith-based charity and crowd-out during the great depression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1043-1069, June.
    4. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    5. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Value-Added Tax," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0608, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    6. James M. Poterba, 1991. "Is the Gasoline Tax Regressive?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 145-164 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Walls, Margaret & Hanson, Jean, 1996. "Distributional Impacts of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-96-11, Resources For the Future.
    8. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
    9. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
    10. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Optimal Control of Externalities in the Presence of Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 12339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
    12. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
    13. Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005. "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
    14. Don Fullerton, 1996. "Why Have Separate Environmental Taxes?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 33-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
    16. Walls, Margaret & Hanson, Jean, 1999. "Distributional Aspects of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 1), pages 53-65, March.
    17. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1995. "Value-Added Taxation: A Tax Whose Time Has Come?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    18. Martin Feldstein, 2006. "The Effect of Taxes on Efficiency and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Walls, Margaret & Hanson, Jean, 1999. "Distributional Aspects of an Environmental Tax Shift: The Case of Motor Vehicle Emissions Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(1), pages 53-65, March.
    20. Kenkel, Donald S, 1996. "New Estimates of the Optimal Tax on Alcohol," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 296-319, April.
    21. Thomas A. Barthold, 1994. "Issues in the Design of Environmental Excise Taxes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 133-151, Winter.
    22. 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 235-243, March.
    23. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons From Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 305-322, June.
    24. Haig, Robert Murray & Shoup, Carl, 1934. "“The Sales Tax in the American States”," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 74-75, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Christian Baker & Jeremy Bejarano & Richard W. Evans & Kenneth L. Judd & Kerk L. Phillips, 2014. "A Big Data Approach to Optimal Sales Taxation," BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory Working Paper Series 2014-03, Brigham Young University, Department of Economics, BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory.
    2. Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & Javier Ávila Mahecha & Jorge Enrique Ramos-Forero, 2017. "The effect of corporate taxes on investment: Evidence from the Colombian firms," Borradores de Economia 1001, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. Laurence Seidman, 2014. "Medicare For All: A Public Finance Analysis," Working Papers 14-02, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    4. Mathieu-Bolh, Nathalie, 2010. "Welfare improving distributionally neutral tax reforms," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1253-1268, September.
    5. Laurence Seidman, 2013. "Overcoming the Fiscal Trilemma with Two Progressive Consumption Tax Supplements," Public Finance Review, , vol. 41(6), pages 824-851, November.
    6. 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.
    7. Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana & Pedro Pascual Arzoz, 2011. "Fraude fiscal e IVA en España: incidencia en un modelo de equilibrio general," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 199(4), pages 9-52, December.
    8. Bernardi, Luigi, 2009. "Le tasse in Europa dagli anni novanta
      [Taxation in Europe since the Years 1990s]
      ," MPRA Paper 23441, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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, January.
    10. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 147-174, Fall.
    11. Laurence Seidman, 2014. "Book Review: The Death of the Income Tax: A Progressive Consumption Tax and the Path to Fiscal Reform by Daniel Goldberg (Oxford University Press, Oxford, Uk, 2013, 318 Pages)," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 67(1), pages 269-278, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:1:p:49-68. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.