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Relative Tax Rates, Proximity and Cigarette Tax Noncompliance: Evidence from a National Sample of Littered Cigarette Packs

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  • Shu Wang
  • David Merriman
  • Frank J. Chaloupka

Abstract

We analyze data about cigarette tax compliance from the first national scale littered cigarette packs collection. We code each pack based on whether an appropriate tax had been paid at the location where it was found. Noncompliance across our 132 sample communities ranges from zero to one hundred percent with an appropriately weighted mean of 21 percent. We provide evidence that noncompliance is due to both cross-border shopping and cigarette trafficking. OLS and binomial logit regressions demonstrate that the financial incentive for non-compliance is the most important explanatory variable and has a statistically and quantitatively significant impact on noncompliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Shu Wang & David Merriman & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2016. "Relative Tax Rates, Proximity and Cigarette Tax Noncompliance: Evidence from a National Sample of Littered Cigarette Packs," NBER Working Papers 22577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22577
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matthew Harding & Ephraim Leibtag & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2012. "The Heterogeneous Geographic and Socioeconomic Incidence of Cigarette Taxes: Evidence from Nielsen Homescan Data," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 169-198, November.
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    3. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-742, August.
    4. Michael F. Pesko & John A. Tauras & Jidong Huang & Frank J. Chaloupka, IV, 2016. "The Influence of Geography and Measurement in Estimating Cigarette Price Responsiveness," NBER Working Papers 22296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Thursby, Jerry G. & Thursby, Marie C., 2000. "Interstate Cigarette Bootlegging: Extent, Revenue Losses, and Effects of Federal Intervention," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(1), pages 59-78, March.
    6. David Merriman, 2010. "The Micro-geography of Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Littered Cigarette Packs in Chicago," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 61-84, May.
    7. Thursby, Jerry G. & Thursby, Marie C., 2000. "Interstate Cigarette Bootlegging: Extent, Revenue Losses, and Effects of Federal Intervention," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 59-78, March.
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    11. Galbraith, John W. & Kaiserman, Murray, 1997. "Taxation, smuggling and demand for cigarettes in Canada: Evidence from time-series data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 287-301, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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