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Driven to drink: Sin taxes near a border

  • Beatty, Timothy K.M.
  • Larsen, Erling Røed
  • Sommervoll, Dag Einar

This paper investigates household purchasing behavior in response to differing alcohol and tobacco taxes near an international border. Our study suggests that large tax differentials near borders induce economically important tax avoidance behavior, which may limit a government's ability to raise revenue and potentially undermine important health and social policy goals. We match novel supermarket scanner and consumer expenditure data to measure the size and scope of the effect for households and stores. We find that stores near/far from the international border have statistically significantly lower/higher sales of beer and tobacco than comparable stores far/near the border. Moreover, we find that households near the border report higher consumption of these same goods. This is consistent with households facing lower prices. Finally, we find measures of externalities associated with these goods are higher near the border.

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

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1175-1184

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:6:p:1175-1184
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2007. "How Far to the Border?: The Extent and Impact of Cross-Border Casual Cigarette Smuggling," Discussion Papers 06-040, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Oct 2009.
  2. Frank J. Chaloupka & Kenneth E. Warner, 1999. "The Economics of Smoking," NBER Working Papers 7047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521780506 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Phelps, Charles E., 1988. "Death and taxes : An opportunity for substitution," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-24, March.
  5. Gruber, Jonathan & Sen, Anindya & Stabile, Mark, 2003. "Estimating price elasticities when there is smuggling: the sensitivity of smoking to price in Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 821-842, September.
  6. Adda, Jérôme & Cornaglia, Francesca, 2005. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption and Smoking Intensity," IZA Discussion Papers 1849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
  8. Chiou Lesley & Muehlegger Erich, 2008. "Crossing the Line: Direct Estimation of Cross-Border Cigarette Sales and the Effect on Tax Revenue," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-41, December.
  9. Friberg, Richard & Asplund, Marcus & Wilander, Fredrik, 2005. "Demand and Distance: Evidence on Cross-Border Shopping," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 587, Stockholm School of Economics.
  10. Ian Crawford & Sarah Tanner, 1999. "Alcohol taxes, tax revenues and the Single European Market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(3), pages 287-304, September.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521785167 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stehr, Mark, 2005. "Cigarette tax avoidance and evasion," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 277-297, March.
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