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Taxing Sin Goods and Subsidizing Health Care

Author

Listed:
  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Philippe De Donder
  • Darío Maldonado
  • Pierre Pestieau

Abstract

We consider a two-period model. In the first period, individuals consume two goods: one is sinful and the other is not. The sin good brings pleasure but has a detrimental effect on second period health and individuals tend to underestimate this effect. In the second period, individuals can devote part of their saving to improve their health status and thus compensate for the damage caused by their sinful consumption. We consider two alternative specifications concerning this second period health care decision: either individuals acknowledge that they have made a mistake in the first period out of myopia or ignorance, or they persist in ignoring the detrimental effect of their sinful consumption. We study the optimal linear taxes on sin good consumption, saving and health care expenditures for a paternalistic social planner. We compare those taxes in the two specifications. We show under which circumstances the first best outcome can be decentralized and we study the second best taxes when saving is unobservable.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Darío Maldonado & Pierre Pestieau, 2008. "Taxing Sin Goods and Subsidizing Health Care," CESifo Working Paper Series 2297, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2297
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2297.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marie-Louise Leroux, 2011. "Endogenous differential mortality, non-contractible effort and non-linear taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(1), pages 56-73, February.
    2. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Optimal linear taxation under endogenous longevity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 213-237, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    paternalism; behavioral economics; dual self v single self;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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