Estimating Price Elasticities When there is Smuggling: The Sensitivity of Smoking to Price in Canada
A central parameter for evaluating tax policies is the price elasticity of demand for cigarettes. But in many countries this parameter is difficult to estimate reliably due to widespread smuggling, which significantly biases estimates using legal sales data. An excellent example is Canada, where widespread smuggling in the early 1990s, in response to large tax increases, biases upwards the response of legal cigarette sales to price. We surmount this problem through two approaches: excluding the provinces and years where smuggling was greatest; and using household level expenditure data on smoking, where there is a downward bias to estimated elasticities from smuggling. These two approaches yield a tightly estimated elasticity in the range of -0.45 to -0.47. We also show that the sensitivity of smoking to price is much larger among lower income Canadians. In the context of recent behavioral models of smoking, whereby higher taxes reduce unwanted smoking among price sensitive populations, this finding suggests that cigarette taxes may not be as regressive as previously suggested. Finally, we show that price increases on cigarettes do not increase, and may actually decrease, consumption of alcohol; as a result, smuggling of cigarettes may have raised consumption of alcohol as well.
|Date of creation:||May 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Gruber, Jonathan & Sen, Anindya & Stabile, Mark, 2003. "Estimating price elasticities when there is smuggling: the sensitivity of smoking to price in Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 821-842, September.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "The complementarity of teen smoking and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 769-793, December.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Koszegi, 2000. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marie C. Thursby & Jerry G. Thursby, 1994. "Interstate Cigarette Bootlegging: Extent, Revenue Losses, and Effects of Government Intervention," NBER Working Papers 4763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005.
"Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier,"
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
- Matthew C. Farrelly & Terry F. Pechacek & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2001. "The Impact of Tobacco Control Program Expenditures on Aggregate Cigarette Sales: 1981-1998," NBER Working Papers 8691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Poterba, J.M., 1989.
"Lifetime Incidence And The Distributional Burden Of Excise Taxes,"
510, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-30, May.
- James M. Poterba, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," NBER Working Papers 2833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- 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.
- Frank J. Chaloupka & Kenneth E. Warner, 1999.
"The Economics of Smoking,"
NBER Working Papers
7047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990.
"An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
61, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Frank Reinhardt & David Giles, 2001.
"Are cigarette bans really good economic policy?,"
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(11), pages 1365-1368.
- 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.
- Ayda A. Yurekli & Ping Zhang, 2000. "The impact of clean indoor-air laws and cigarette smuggling on demand for cigarettes: an empirical model," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 159-170.
- 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.
- Lanoie, Paul & Leclair, Paul, 1998. "Taxation or regulation:: Looking for a good anti-smoking policy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 85-89, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8962. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.