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

Using a Natural Experiment to Examine Tobacco Tax Regressivity

  • Adel Bosch and Steven F. Koch

We take advantage of a tobacco tax hike that occurred during the collection of the South African Income and Expenditure Survey to examine the regressivity of tobacco taxes. We are also able to examine the relative change in regressivity following the tax increase. Like previous research into commodity taxes, we find that tobacco taxes are regressive. However, we find that tobacco tax increases reduce the tax burden at the lower end of the income distribution, such that after the cigarette tax increase, cigarette taxes are less regressive than before the increase.

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 Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 434.

in new window

Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:434
Contact details of provider: Postal: Newlands on Main, F0301 3rd Floor Mariendahl House, cnr Campground and Main Rds, Claremont, 7700 Cape Town
Phone: 021 671-3980
Fax: +27 21 671 3912
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. Gregory J. Colman & Dahlia K. Remler, 2008. "Vertical equity consequences of very high cigarette tax increases: If the poor are the ones smoking, how could cigarette tax increases be progressive?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 376-400.
  2. 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.
  3. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Optimal Sin Taxes," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000346, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Steven F. Koch, 2010. "Fractional Multinomial Response Models With An Application To Expenditure Shares," Working Papers 201021, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  5. Haavio, Markus & Kotakorpi, Kaisa, 2011. "The political economy of sin taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 575-594, May.
  6. Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
  7. Marc Ground & Steven F. Koch, 2007. "Hurdle Models of Alcohol and Tobacco Expenditure in South African Households," Working Papers 200703, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  8. Philip DeCicca & Donald S. Kenkel & Feng Liu, 2010. "Excise Tax Avoidance: The Case of State Cigarette Taxes," NBER Working Papers 15941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cp Van Walbeek, 2002. "The Distributional Impact of Tobacco Excise Increases," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(3), pages 258-267, 03.
  10. Athanasios Orphanides & David Zervos, 1992. "Rational addiction with learning and regret," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 216, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Pu, Cheng-yun & Lan, Virginia & Chou, Yiing-Jenq & Lan, Chung-fu, 2008. "The crowding-out effects of tobacco and alcohol where expenditure shares are low: Analyzing expenditure data for Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(9), pages 1979-1989, May.
  12. Evanh. Blecher, 2006. "The Effects Of The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act Of 1999 On Restaurant Revenues In South Africa: A Panel Data Approach," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(1), pages 123-130, 03.
  13. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1998. "Myopia and Addictive Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 75-91, January.
  14. Gregory Berg & William Kaempfer, 2001. "Cigarette demand and tax policy for race groups in South Africa," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1167-1173.
  15. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
  16. Willem h. Boshoff, 2008. "Cigarette Demand In South Africa Over 1996-2006: The Role Of Price, Income And Health Awareness," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 76(1), pages 118-131, 03.
  17. DeCicca, Philip & McLeod, Logan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking: Evidence from recent large tax increases," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 918-929, July.
  18. Kotakorpi, Kaisa, 2008. "The incidence of sin taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 95-99, January.
  19. Jasjeet S. Sekhon, . "Multivariate and Propensity Score Matching Software with Automated Balance Optimization: The Matching package for R," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 42(i07).
  20. Richard Connelly & Rajeev Goel & Rati Ram, 2009. "Demand for cigarettes in the United States: effects of prices in bordering states and contiguity with Mexico and Canada," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(18), pages 2255-2260.
  21. Philip DeCicca & Donald S. Kenkel & Feng Liu, 2010. "Who Pays Cigarette Taxes? The Impact of Consumer Price Search," NBER Working Papers 15942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:rza:wpaper:434. 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: (Charles Tanton)

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.