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Smoking Intensity, Compensatory Behavior and Tobacco Tax Policy

  • Ian Irvine

    (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Smokers not only choose the number of cigarettes to smoke in any given period on the basis of price, they also choose the intensity with which to smoke - that is, how much nicotine to inhale. The possibility that quantity-reducing tax policies may be mitigated, or even completely offset, by higher intensity has been raised recently by Adda and Cornaglia (2006). The objective of this paper is to examine this possibility in the context of a utility-maximizing model of smoking that is based on known toxicological patterns. After calibrating this model to re?ect observed behaviors, it is concluded that continuing smokers o¤set about one third of the quantity-reducing impact of higher taxes. Compensatory behavior thus reduces tax e¤ectiveness, but does not render it neutral. While toxicology has long recognized that nicotine inventory management is a key ingredient in smoking behaviour, this paper is the ?rst to incorporate such knowledge into a utility-price based maximizing model.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp200818.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200818.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 06 Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200818
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  1. Gospodinov, Nikolay & Irvine, Ian, 2009. "Tobacco taxes and regressivity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 375-384, March.
  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. Adda, Jérôme & Cornaglia, Francesca, 2005. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption and Smoking Intensity," IZA Discussion Papers 1849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. Jones, Andrew M., 2000. "Health econometrics," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 265-344 Elsevier.
  6. 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.
  7. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
  8. M.C. Farrelly & C.T. Nimsch & A. Hyland & M. Cummings, 2004. "The effects of higher cigarette prices on tar and nicotine consumption in a cohort of adult smokers," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 49-58.
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