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Optimal Paternalism: Sin Taxes and Health Subsidies

Author

Listed:
  • Aronsson, Thomas

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

  • Thunström, Linda

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

Abstract

The starting point for this paper is the potential self-control problem underlying the consumption of unhealthy food. The purpose is to analyze public policies, which are designed to correct for the welfare loss associated with such behavior. Contrary to previous studies, our analysis suggests that subsidies on wealth and health capital are part of the policy package, which can be used to implement a socially optimal resource allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Aronsson, Thomas & Thunström, Linda, 2005. "Optimal Paternalism: Sin Taxes and Health Subsidies," Umeå Economic Studies 662, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0662
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Koszegi, 2002. "A Theory of Government Regulation of Addictive Bads: Optimal Tax Levels and Tax Incidence for Cigarette Excise Taxation," NBER Working Papers 8777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
    5. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    6. 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.
    7. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    8. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Smed, Sinne & Jensen, Jorgen D. & Denver, Sigrid, 2007. "Socio-economic characteristics and the effect of taxation as a health policy instrument," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 624-639.
    2. Kaisa Kotakorpi, 2009. "Paternalism and Tax Competition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(1), pages 125-149, March.
    3. repec:sos:sosjrn:180109 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2008. "Pawns and queens revisited: public provision of private goods when individuals make mistakes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(5), pages 599-619, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Quasi-Hyperbolic Discounting; Taxes; Subsidies;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • 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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