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Price Elasticity Estimates for Tobacco and Other Addictive Goods in India

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  • Rijo M John

    (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

Abstract

The tax base of tobacco in India is found to be heavily depended on about fifteen per cent of the tobacco users who represent cigarettes smokers. Non-cigarette tobacco products used by the majority of tobacco users are largely out of the tax net. Analysis of the price elasticity of various tobacco products would bring out the potential of tax as an instrument to control tobacco use of any kind. In this context, this paper examines how the demand for a variety of tobacco products and addictive goods such as pan and alcohol respond to changes in prices. The spatial variations of prices that are obtained from a cross section of 120,000 households spread across the country have been used for this purpose. Estimates of price elasticities showed that the own price elasticity estimates of various addictive goods in India ranged between -0.5 to -1.0 with bidis, leaf tobacco and alcohol having elasticities close to unity, cigarettes being the least price elastic of all. As against the general notions regarding the complementarity between cigarettes and alcohol, our study finds that these are substitutes at least in urban India. We also observed that, over a five year period, the addictive goods such as bidis and leaf tobacco in India have become slightly more price responsive while elasticity of cigarettes and pan have stabilized. With some assumptions, it is shown that taxes on cigarettes can be raised nearly 2.5 times the current level while that of bidis can be raised tenfold without any fall in revenue.

Suggested Citation

  • Rijo M John, 2005. "Price Elasticity Estimates for Tobacco and Other Addictive Goods in India," Microeconomics Working Papers 22395, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:microe:22395
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rijo John, 2004. "An analysis of household's tobacco consumption decisions: Evidence from India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2004-002, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    2. Rijo M. John, 2006. "Household's Tobacco Consumption Decisions," Journal of South Asian Development, , vol. 1(1), pages 101-126, April.
    3. Susan H. Busch & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Tracy A. Falba & Jody L. Sindelar, 2004. "Tobacco Spending and its Crowd-Out of Other Goods," NBER Working Papers 10974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kenneth Clements & Wana Yang & Simon Zheng, 1997. "Is utility additive? The case of alcohol," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(9), pages 1163-1167.
    5. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Warner, Kenneth E., 2000. "The economics of smoking," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 29, pages 1539-1627 Elsevier.
    6. John, Rijo M., 2005. "Tobacco consumption patterns and its health implications in India," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 213-222, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Yuyu & Xing, Weibo, 2011. "Quantity, quality, and regional price variation of cigarettes: Demand analysis based on a household survey in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 221-232, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tobacco; Bidi; Cigarette; Alcohol; consumption; Elasticity; India;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R22 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other Demand

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