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A closer look at the tax incidence of instant lottery games: an analysis by price point

  • Thomas A. Garrett

The tax incidence of different price-point instant lottery games is examined. Theoretical reasons exist for expecting higher-priced instant lottery games to be less regressive than lower-priced instant games. Using game-level data from a sample of states, the empirical results show that higher-priced instant games are significantly less regressive than lower-priced games. For some games, regressivity is rejected in favor of proportionality. In addition, the tax incidence of individual instant games is quite different than that for all instant games combined. This suggests that large differences in individual instant-game tax incidence are masked if aggregated sales data are used.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2011-010.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2011-010
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  1. James Alm, 2004. "Introduction," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-235, 09.
  2. Quiggin, John, 1991. "On the Optimal Design of Lotteries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(229), pages 1-16, February.
  3. Mary O. Borg & Paul M. Mason & Stephen L. Shapiro, 1993. "The Cross Effects of Lottery Taxes On Alternative State Tax Revenue," Public Finance Review, , vol. 21(2), pages 123-140, April.
  4. Farrell, Lisa & Morgenroth, Edgar & Walker, Ian, 1999. " A Time Series Analysis of U.K. Lottery Sales: Long and Short Run Price Elasticities," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(4), pages 513-26, November.
  5. Thomas A. Garrett & Cletus C. Coughlin, 2007. "Inter-temporal differences in the income elasticity of demand for lottery tickets," Working Papers 2007-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  6. Forrest, David & Gulley, O. David & Simmons, Robert, 2000. "Elasticity of Demand for UK National Lottery Tickets," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 853-64, December.
  7. Garrett, Thomas A. & Sobel, Russell S., 1999. "Gamblers favor skewness, not risk: Further evidence from United States' lottery games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 85-90, April.
  8. Philip J. Cook & Charles T. Clotfelter, 1991. "The Peculiar Scale Economies of Lotto," NBER Working Papers 3766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mikesell, John L., 1994. "State Lottery Sales and Economic Activity," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 165-71, March.
  10. Charles T. Clotfelter & Philip J. Cook, 1989. "Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot89-1, November.
  11. Kathryn Combs & Jaebeom Kim & John Spry, 2008. "The relative regressivity of seven lottery games," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 35-39.
  12. Tosun, Mehmet Serkan & Skidmore, Mark, 2004. "Interstate Competition and State Lottery Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 163-78, June.
  13. Garrett, Thomas A. & Marsh, Thomas L., 2002. "The revenue impacts of cross-border lottery shopping in the presence of spatial autocorrelation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 501-519, July.
  14. Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Skidmore, Mark, 1993. "Fiscal Pressure, Tax Competition, and the Introduction of State Lotteries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 463-76, December.
  15. Charles T. Clotfelter & Philip J. Cook, 1987. "Implicit Taxation in Lottery Finance," NBER Working Papers 2246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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