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Driven to Drink. Sin Taxes Near a Border

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.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 507.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:507
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521780506 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Warner, Kenneth E., 2000. "The economics of smoking," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 29, pages 1539-1627 Elsevier.
  3. Friberg, Richard & Asplund, Marcus & Wilander, Fredrik, 2005. "Demand and Distance: Evidence on Cross-Border Shopping," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 587, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521785167 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Stehr, Mark, 2005. "Cigarette tax avoidance and evasion," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 277-297, March.
  7. Adda, Jérôme & Cornaglia, Francesca, 2005. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption and Smoking Intensity," IZA Discussion Papers 1849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Chiou Lesley & Muehlegger Erich, 2008. "Crossing the Line: Direct Estimation of Cross-Border Cigarette Sales and the Effect on Tax Revenue," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-41, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Ian Crawford & Sarah Tanner, 1999. "Alcohol taxes, tax revenues and the Single European Market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(3), pages 287-304, September.
  12. Phelps, Charles E., 1988. "Death and taxes : An opportunity for substitution," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-24, March.
  13. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
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