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The Demand for Tobacco in Post-Unification Italy


  • Ciccarelli, Carlo
  • De Fraja, Gianni


This paper studies the demand for tobacco products in post-unification Italy. We construct a very detailed panel dataset of yearly consumption in the 69 Italian provinces from 1871 to 1913, and use it to estimate the demand for tobacco products. We find support for the Becker and Murphy (1988) rational addiction model. We also find that, in the period considered, tobacco was a normal good in Italy: aggregate tobacco consumption increased with income. Subsequently, we consider separately the four types of products which aggregate tobacco comprises (fine-cut tobacco, snuff, cigars, and cigarettes), and tentatively suggest that habit formation was a stronger factor on the persistence of consumption than physical addiction. The paper ends by showing that the introduction of the Bonsack machine in the early 1890s did not coincide with changes in the structure of the demand for tobacco, suggesting cost driven technological change.

Suggested Citation

  • Ciccarelli, Carlo & De Fraja, Gianni, 2012. "The Demand for Tobacco in Post-Unification Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 9197, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9197

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Ciccarelli & Pierpaolo Pierani & Silvia Tiezzi, 2014. "Secular trends in tobacco consumption: the case of Italy, 1871-2010," Department of Economics University of Siena 700, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Carlo Ciccarelli & Jean Paul Elhorst, 2016. "A Spatial Diffusion Model with Common Factors and an Application to Cigarette Consumption," CEIS Research Paper 381, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 31 May 2016.
    3. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Missiaia, Anna, 2014. "Business fluctuations in Imperial Austria's regions, 1867-1913: new evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55963, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Francesco Giffoni & Matteo Gomellini, 2015. "Brain gain in the age of mass migration," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 34, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item


    Italian Kingdom; Rational Addiction; Tobacco;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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