IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/max/cprwps/39.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can Policy Changes Be Treated as Natural Experiments? Evidence from State Excise Taxes

Author

Abstract

An important issue in public policy analysis is the potential endogeneity of the policies under study. If policy changes constitute responses on the part of political decision-makers to changes in a variable of interest, then standard analyses that treat policy changes as natural experiments may yield biased estimates of the impact of the policy (Besley and Case 2000). We examine the extent to which such political endogeneity biases conventional fixed effects estimates of behavioral parameters by identifying the elasticities of demand for cigarettes and beer using the timing of state legislative elections as an instrument for changes in state excise taxes. In both cases, we find sizable differences between these estimated demand elasticities and the fixed effect estimates cited in Evans, Ringel, and Stech (1999). We conclude that the use of fixed effects estimators in environments where policy interventions are endogeneously determined may lead to large biases in the estimated effects of the policies. This paper was revised July 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey D. Kubik & John R. Moran, 2001. "Can Policy Changes Be Treated as Natural Experiments? Evidence from State Excise Taxes," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 39, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:39
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Duffy, Martyn, 1995. "Advertising in demand systems for alcoholic drinks and tobacco: A comparative study," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 557-577, December.
    2. Johnson, James A, et al, 1992. "Short-Run and Long-Run Elasticities for Canadian Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages: An Error-Correction Mechanism/Cointegration Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 64-74, February.
    3. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber & Raymond S. Hartman & Mary Beth Landrum & Joseph P. Newhouse & Meredith B. Rosenthal, 2002. "The Economic impacts of the tobacco settlement," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 1-19.
    4. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    5. M. A. Salisu & V. N. Balasubramanyam, 1997. "Income and price elasticities of demand for alcoholic drinks," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(4), pages 247-251.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Keeler, Theodore E. & Hu, Teh-wei & Barnett, Paul G. & Manning, Willard G. & Sung, Hai-Yen, 1996. "Do cigarette producers price-discriminate by state? An empirical analysis of local cigarette pricing and taxation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 499-512, August.
    9. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
    10. Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(2), pages 165-176, June.
    11. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
    12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    13. Angrist, J D & Imbens, G W & Krueger, A B, 1999. "Jackknife Instrumental Variables Estimation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 57-67, Jan.-Feb..
    14. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel & Diana Stech, 1999. "Tobacco Taxes and Public Policy to Discourage Smoking," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, pages 1-56, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    16. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(2), pages 157-178, June.
    17. Michael L. Katz & Harvey S. Rosen, 1983. "Tax Analysis in an Oligopoly Model," NBER Working Papers 1088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Prices and Policies," NBER Working Papers 7506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Evans, William N. & Ringel, Jeanne S., 1999. "Can higher cigarette taxes improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 135-154, April.
    20. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    21. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    22. Besley, Timothy, 1989. "Commodity taxation and imperfect competition : A note on the effects of entry," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 359-367, December.
    23. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    24. Jon P. Nelson, 1999. "Broadcast Advertising and U.S. Demand for Alcoholic Beverages," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 65(4), pages 774-790, April.
    25. Robert L. Ohsfeldt & Raymond G. Boyle & Eli L. Capilouto, 1998. "Tobacco Taxes, Smoking Restrictions, and Tobacco Use," NBER Working Papers 6486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 165-76, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jon P. Nelson, 2014. "Gender Differences In Alcohol Demand: A Systematic Review Of The Role Of Prices And Taxes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(10), pages 1260-1280, October.
    2. Jeffrey D. Kubik & John R. Moran, 2001. "Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 40, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Frank A. Sloan & Justin G. Trogdon, 2004. "Litigation and the Political Clout of the Tobacco Companies: Cigarette Taxes, Prices, and the Master Settlement Agreement," School of Economics Working Papers 2004-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    2. Panayiota Lyssiotou & Elena Savva, 2021. "Who pays taxes on basic foodstuffs? Evidence from broadening the VAT base," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(1), pages 212-247, February.
    3. Devereux, Michael P. & Lanot, Gauthier, 2003. "Measuring tax incidence: an application to mortgage provision in the UK," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1747-1778, August.
    4. Sloan, Frank A. & Trogdon, Justin G. & Mathews, Carrie A., 2005. "Litigation and the value of tobacco companies," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 427-447, May.
    5. Anderson, Simon P. & de Palma, Andre & Kreider, Brent, 2001. "Tax incidence in differentiated product oligopoly," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 173-192, August.
    6. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872, Elsevier.
    7. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Capital Tax Incidence: First Impressions from the Time Series," NBER Working Papers 9374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Raymundo M. Campos-Vázquez & Eduardo M. Medina-Cortina, 2019. "Pass-through and competition: the impact of soft drink taxes as seen through Mexican supermarkets," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 28(1), pages 1-23, December.
    9. Sara Lemos, 2004. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage on Prices in Brazil," Labor and Demography 0403011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Richard Blundell, 2009. "Assessing the Temporary VAT Cut Policy in the UK," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 30(1), pages 31-38, March.
    11. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
    12. Donald S. Kenkel, 2005. "Are Alcohol Tax Hikes Fully Passed Through to Prices? Evidence from Alaska," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 273-277, May.
    13. Kathryn L. Combs & Jaebeom Kim & Jim Landers & John A. Spry, 2016. "The Responsiveness of Casino Revenue to the Casino Tax Rate," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 22-44, September.
    14. James C. Cox & Mark Rider & Astha Sen, 2012. "Tax Incidence: Do Institutions Matter? An Experimental Study," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-17, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Feb 2017.
    15. Doyle Jr., Joseph J. & Samphantharak, Krislert, 2008. "$2.00 Gas! Studying the effects of a gas tax moratorium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 869-884, April.
    16. Casey B. Mulligan, 2003. "Capital Tax Incidence: Fisherian Impressions from the Time Series," NBER Working Papers 9916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Claudio Agostini, 2012. "Incidencia Tributaria en el Mercado de las Gasolinas en Chile," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business, vol. 27(2), pages 55-73, October.
    18. Haan, Peter & Simmler, Martin, 2018. "Wind electricity subsidies — A windfall for landowners? Evidence from a feed-in tariff in Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 16-32.
    19. Asker, John, 2008. "Subsidizing (and taxing) business procurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1629-1643, July.
    20. John Cawley & Chelsea Crain & David Frisvold & David Jones, 2018. "The Pass-Through of the Largest Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: The Case of Boulder, Colorado," NBER Working Papers 25050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:39. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cpsyrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Margaret Austin or Candi Patterson or Katrina Wingle (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cpsyrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.