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An Optimal-Tax Approach to Alcohol Policy

Author

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  • Thomas Aronsson
  • Tomas Sjögren

Abstract

This paper deals with optimal income and commodity taxation in an economy, where alcohol is an externality-generating consumption good. In our model, alcohol can be bought domestically, imported, or produced illegally. Border trade alone implies an incentive to set the domestic alcohol tax below the marginal social damage of alcohol, and to tax (subsidize) commodities that are complementary with (substitutable for) alcohol. The income tax will also be used as a corrective instrument. Furthermore, although the effects of adding illegal production are ambiguous in general, a realistic outcome is, nevertheless, that it reduces both the optimal alcohol tax and the marginal income tax rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Aronsson & Tomas Sjögren, 2010. "An Optimal-Tax Approach to Alcohol Policy," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 66(2), pages 153-169, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201006)66:2_153:aoatap_2.0.tx_2-b
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X524197
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ian Crawford & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Bringing it all back home: alcohol taxation and cross-border shopping," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 94-114, May.
    2. Thomas Aronsson & Tomas Sjögren, 2004. "Is the Optimal Labor Income Tax Progressive in a Unionized Economy?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 661-675, December.
    3. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
    4. Aronsson, Thomas & Sjogren, Tomas, 2004. "Efficient taxation, wage bargaining and policy coordination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2711-2725, December.
    5. Aronsson, Thomas & Thunström, Linda, 2008. "A note on optimal paternalism and health capital subsidies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 241-242, December.
    6. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2008. "Age-related Optimal Income Taxation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 45-71, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aronsson, Thomas & Sjögren, Tomas, 2017. "Optimal Taxation, Redistribution, and Environmental Externalities," Umeå Economic Studies 950, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    2. Indrek Saar, 2011. "Optimal alcohol taxation: Simulation results for Estonia," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 65-90, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal taxation; external effects; alcohol; border trade;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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