IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Tobacco Deal

  • Paul Klemperer
  • Jeremy Bulow

We analyse the major economic issues raised by the 1997 Tobacco Resolution and the ensuing proposed legislation that were intended to settle tobacco litigation in the United States. By settling litigation largely in return for tax increases, the Resolution was a superb example of a win-win deal. The taxes would cost the companies about $1 billion per year, but yield the government about $13 billion per year, and allow the lawyers to claim fees based on hundreds of billions in damages. Only consumers, in whose name many of the lawsuits were filed, lost out. Though the strategy seems brilliant for the parties involves, the execution was less intelligent. We show that alternative taxes would be considerably superior to those proposed, and explain problems with the damage payments required from the firms, and the legal protections offered to them. We argue that the legislation was not particularly focused on youth smoking, despite the rhetoric. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, youth smokers are not especially valuable to the companies, so marketing restrictions are a sensible part of any deal. The individual state settlements set very dangerous examples which could open up unprecedented opportunities for collusion throughout the economy, and the multistate settlement of November 1998 is equally flawed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 1999-W11.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Nov 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:1999-w11
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Web page:

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.:

as in new window
  1. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 123-137, Spring.
  2. 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.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy I. & Klemperer, Paul, 1991. "Rational Frenzies and Crashes," CEPR Discussion Papers 593, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Sobel, Russell S & Garrett, Thomas A, 1997. "Taxation and Product Quality: New Evidence from Generic Cigarettes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 880-87, August.
  5. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-66, May.
  6. Fiona Scott Morton, 1997. "The Strategic Response by Pharmaceutical Firms to the Medicaid Most-Favored-Customer Rules," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(2), pages 269-290, Summer.
  7. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities From Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis Of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77, February.
  8. 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.
  9. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  10. Sumner, Daniel A, 1981. "Measurement of Monopoly Behavior: An Application to the Cigarette Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 1010-19, October.
  11. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  12. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
  13. Decicca, P. & Kenkel, D. & Mathios, A., 2000. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce Youth Smoking," Papers 00-3, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
  14. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1980. "Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Discussion Papers 427, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Frank J. Chaloupka, 1990. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 3268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Barzel, Yoram, 1976. "An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1177-97, December.
  17. Sumner, Michael T & Ward, Robert, 1981. "Tax Changes and Cigarette Prices [An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1261-65, December.
  18. W. Kip Viscusi, 1994. "Cigarette Taxation and the Social Consequences of Smoking," NBER Working Papers 4891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Padilla A. Jorge, 1995. "Revisiting Dynamic Duopoly with Consumer Switching Costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 520-530, December.
  20. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  21. Varian, Hal R., 1989. "Price discrimination," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 597-654 Elsevier.
  22. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman, 1996. "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Youth Smoking," NBER Working Papers 5740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Klemperer, Paul D, 1987. "Entry Deterrence in Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 99-117, Supplemen.
  24. Merriman, David, 1994. "Do Cigarette Excise Tax Rates Maximize Revenue?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 419-28, July.
  25. Kenneth Elzinga & David Mills, 1997. "The Distribution and Pricing of Prescription Drugs," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 287-300.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:1999-w11. 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: (Monica Birds)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.