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Who Pays Cigarette Taxes? The Impact of Consumer Price Search

Author

Listed:
  • Philip DeCicca

    (McMaster University and NBER)

  • Donald Kenkel

    (NBER and Cornell University)

  • Feng Liu

    (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)

Abstract

We conduct an empirical study of the impact of consumer price search on the shifting of cigarette excise taxes to consumer prices. We use novel data on the prices that smokers report paying and document substantial price dispersion. We find that cigarette taxes are shifted at lower rates to carton buyers and, especially, smokers who buy cartons of cigarettes in a state other than their state of residence. We also find evidence that taxes are shifted at somewhat lower rates to the prices paid by heavier smokers and at somewhat higher rates to the prices paid by smokers of light cigarettes. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Feng Liu, 2013. "Who Pays Cigarette Taxes? The Impact of Consumer Price Search," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 516-529, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:2:p:516-529
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios & Yoon-Jeong Shin & Jae-Young Lim, 2008. "Youth smoking, cigarette prices, and anti-smoking sentiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 733-749.
    2. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 669-738, May.
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    4. Keeler, Theodore E. & Hu, Teh-wei & Barnett, Paul G. & Manning, Willard G. & Sung, Hai-Yen, 1996. "Do cigarette producers price-discriminate by state? An empirical analysis of local cigarette pricing and taxation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 499-512, August.
    5. Saul Lach, 2002. "Existence And Persistence Of Price Dispersion: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 433-444, August.
    6. Delipalla, Sophia & O'Donnell, Owen, 2001. "Estimating tax incidence, market power and market conduct: The European cigarette industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 885-908, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Gregory J. Colman & Dahlia K. Remler, 2008. "Vertical equity consequences of very high cigarette tax increases: If the poor are the ones smoking, how could cigarette tax increases be progressive?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 376-400.
    9. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:2:225-229_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Hanson, Andrew & Sullivan, Ryan, 2009. "The Incidence of Tobacco Taxation: Evidence From Geographic Micro-Level Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(4), pages 677-698, December.
    11. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
    12. Johnson, Terry R, 1978. "Additional Evidence on the Effects of Alternative Taxes on Cigarette Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 325-328, April.
    13. Donald S. Kenkel, 2005. "Are Alcohol Tax Hikes Fully Passed Through to Prices? Evidence from Alaska," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 273-277, May.
    14. James Alm & Edward Sennoga & Mark Skidmore, 2009. "Perfect Competition, Urbanization, And Tax Incidence In The Retail Gasoline Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 118-134, January.
    15. Barzel, Yoram, 1976. "An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1177-1197, December.
    16. Besley, Timothy, 1989. "Commodity taxation and imperfect competition : A note on the effects of entry," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 359-367, December.
    17. Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The effects of taxation, price control and government contracts in oligopoly and monopolistic competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 133-158, March.
    18. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:taf:applec:v:48:y:2016:i:41:p:3976-3994 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bishop, James, 2015. "Interacting effects of state cigarette taxes on smoking participation," MPRA Paper 66609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nicoletta Berardi & Patrick Sevestre & Marine Tépaut & Alexandre Vigneron, 2016. "The impact of a ‘soda tax’ on prices: evidence from French micro data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(41), pages 3976-3994, September.
    5. Adel Bosch and Steven F. Koch, 2014. "Using a Natural Experiment to Examine Tobacco Tax Regressivity," Working Papers 434, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    6. Lesley Chiou & Erich Muehlegger, 2014. "Consumer Response to Cigarette Excise Tax Changes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 67(3), pages 621-650, September.
    7. Mario Jametti & Agustin Redonda & Anindya Sen, 2013. "The Power to Pass on Taxes - A Test for Tax Shifting based on Observables," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 1301, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    8. Kyle Rozema & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2015. "Behavioral Responses to Taxation: Cigarette Taxes and Food Stamp Take-Up," Working Papers 150015, Canadian Centre for Health Economics.
    9. Leah K. Lakdawala & David Simon, 2016. "The Intergenerational Consequences of Tobacco Policy," Working papers 2016-27, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    10. 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.
    11. Don Fullerton & Erich Muehlegger, 2017. "Who Bears the Economic Costs of Environmental Regulations?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6596, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Hansen, Benjamin & Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2011. "Cigarette Taxes and the Social Market," IZA Discussion Papers 5580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:eme:aheszz:s0731-219920170000025005 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Feng Liu & Hua Wang, 2017. "Behavioral Welfare Economics and FDA Tobacco Regulations," Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research,in: Human Capital and Health Behavior, volume 25, pages 143-179 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    15. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Feng Liu, 2015. "Reservation Prices: An Economic Analysis of Cigarette Purchases on Indian Reservations," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 68(1), pages 93-118, March.
    16. repec:eee:socmed:v:196:y:2018:i:c:p:19-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Benjamin Hansen & Daniel I. Rees & Joseph J. Sabia, 2013. "Cigarette Taxes and How Youths Obtain Cigarettes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(2), pages 371-394, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cigarette taxes; consumers; smokers;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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