Crossing the Line: The Effect of Cross Border Cigarette Sales on State Excise Tax Revenues
Differences in excise tax rates across jurisdictions create incentives for consumers to cross the border and purchase in lower-tax jurisdictions. This paper introduces a discrete choice model to examine tax avoidance and state border-crossing in the market for cigarettes. We exploit a rich dataset of consumer location choices and demographics to estimate a consumer’s tradeoff between distance and price when choosing a location to maximize utility. Using the estimates from our location and demand models, we reconsider a recent public policy issue among states and simulate tax avoidance under alternative cigarette excise tax levels.
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