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Driven to Drink. Sin Taxes Near a Border

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Abstract

This paper investigates household purchasing behavior in response to differing alcohol and tobacco taxes near an international border. Our study suggests that large tax differentials near borders induce economically important tax avoidance behavior that may limit a government's ability to raise revenue and potentially undermine the pursuit of important health and social policy goals. We match novel supermarket scanner and consumer expenditure data to measure the size and scope of the effect for households and stores. We find that stores near/far from the international border have statistically significantly lower/higher sales of beer and tobacco than comparable stores far/near the border. Moreover, we find that households near the border report higher consumption of these same goods. This is consistent with households facing lower prices. Finally, we find measures of externalities associated with the consumption of alcohol and tobacco are higher near the border.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy K.M. Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen & Dag Einar Sommervoll, 2007. "Driven to Drink. Sin Taxes Near a Border," Discussion Papers 507, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:507
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    1. Lovenheim, Michael F., 2008. "How Far to the Border?: The Extent and Impact of Cross-Border Casual Cigarette Smuggling," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 7-33, March.
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    6. Stehr, Mark, 2007. "The Effect of Sunday Sales Bans and Excise Taxes on Drinking and Cross–Border Shopping for Alcoholic Beverages," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(1), pages 85-105, March.
    7. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    9. Asplund, Marcus & Friberg, Richard & Wilander, Fredrik, 2007. "Demand and distance: Evidence on cross-border shopping," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 141-157.
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    12. 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.
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    17. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1995:85:9:1218-1222_0 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Manudeep Bhuller & Tarjei Havnes & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2013. "Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1237-1266.
    2. Christian Ben Lakhdar & Nicolas Gérard Vaillant & François-Charles Wolff, 2016. "Does smoke cross the border? Cigarette tax avoidance in France," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(9), pages 1073-1089, December.
    3. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:47-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2012. "Myopia, regrets, and risky behaviors," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, pages 288-317.
    5. Benny Geys & Steffen Osterloh, 2013. "Borders As Boundaries To Fiscal Policy Interactions? An Empirical Analysis Of Politicians’ Opinions On Rivals In The Competition For Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 583-606, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alcohol Consumption; Tobacco Consumption; Border Trade; Taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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