IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ttp/itpwps/0304.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taxing Alcohol in Africa: Reflections from International Experience

Author

Listed:
  • Richard M. Bird

    (International Tax Program, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)

  • Sally Wallace

    () (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University)

Abstract

Governments exist, in part, to cope with the weaknesses of their citizens and subsist, to some extent, on the basis of those same weaknesses. Alcoholic beverages have long played a critical role on both sides of this equation. Over-indulgence in drink is a factor in crime, injury, and illness. It is also a potentially lucrative source of tax revenue. From a public policy perspective, alcohol thus has two faces: viewed from one side, it is a villain giving rise to social problems and consequently the need for public expenditure; viewed from the other, however, it is a hero riding to the rescue with copious fiscal returns. This ambivalence has, over the years, led to many hypotheses with respect to how much and how to tax alcohol and not a little hypocrisy in the public discussion of this question. This paper summarize the current state of the art of taxing alcohol around the world, and draws from international experience some implications for sub-Saharan African governments that are wrestling with the apparently eternal conundrums and trade-offs that confound alcohol tax policy everywhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2003. "Taxing Alcohol in Africa: Reflections from International Experience," International Tax Program Papers 0304, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Nov 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0304
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/iib/ITP0304.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Henry Saffer & Frank Chaloupka, 1994. "Alcohol Tax Equalization and Social Costs," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 33-43, Winter.
    2. Michael Keen, 1998. "The balance between specific and ad valorem taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-37, February.
    3. Cutler, David M., 2002. "Health care and the public sector," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 31, pages 2143-2243 Elsevier.
    4. Charles dh Parry & Bronwyn Myers & Michael Thiede, 2003. "The Case for an Increased Tax on Alcohol in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(2), pages 137-145, June.
    5. Michael Grossman, 1993. "Policy Watch: Alcohol and Cigarette Taxes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 211-222, Fall.
    6. Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1, January.
    7. Young, Douglas J & BieliĀ“nska-Kwapisz, Agnieszka, 2002. "Alcohol Taxes and Beverage Prices," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(1), pages 57-73, March.
    8. Young, Douglas J & BieliĀ“nska-Kwapisz, Agnieszka, 2002. "Alcohol Taxes and Beverage Prices," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 57-73, March.
    9. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Pogue, Thomas F & Sgontz, Larry G, 1989. "Taxing to Control Social Costs: The Case of Alcohol," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 235-243, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sijbren Cnossen, 2006. "Alcohol Taxation and Regulation in the European Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 1821, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Richard M. Bird, 2014. "Foreign advice and tax policy in developing countries," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 4, pages 103-144 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Richard M. Bird & Sally Wallace, 2010. "Taxing Alcohol In Africa: Reflections And Updates," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1031, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    4. Roy Bahl, 2011. "Taxing Soft Drinks," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1106, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    5. Richard M Bird & Eric M Zolt, 2008. "Tax Policy in Emerging Countries," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 26(1), pages 73-86, February.
    6. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2005. "The limited role of the personal income tax in developing countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 928-946, December.
    7. Sijbren Cnossen, 2007. "Alcohol taxation and regulation in the European Union," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(6), pages 699-732, December.
    8. Olga Lucia Acosta & Richard M. Bird, 2003. "The Dilemma of Decentralization in Colombia," International Tax Program Papers 0404, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alcohol taxation; excise taxes; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0304. 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: (Richard Bird). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iitorca.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.