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Tobacco taxes and regressivity

  • Gospodinov, Nikolay
  • Irvine, Ian

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Nikolay Gospodinov & Ian Irvine, 2005. "A `long march' perspective on tobacco use in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 366-393, May.
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  8. Mullahy, John, 1998. "Much ado about two: reconsidering retransformation and the two-part model in health econometrics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-281, June.
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  10. 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.
  11. Jonathan Gruber & Anindya Sen & Mark Stabile, 2002. "Estimating Price Elasticities When there is Smuggling: The Sensitivity of Smoking to Price in Canada," NBER Working Papers 8962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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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  16. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2000. "Standard errors for the retransformation problem with heteroscedasticity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 697-718, September.
  18. Adda, Jérôme & Cornaglia, Francesca, 2005. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption and Smoking Intensity," IZA Discussion Papers 1849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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