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Optimal Tax Rules for Addictive Consumption


  • Bossi, Luca
  • Calcott, Paul
  • Petkov, Vladimir


This paper studies implementation of the social optimum in a model of habit formation. We consider taxes that address inefficiencies due to negative consumption externalities, imperfect competition, and self-control problems. Our contributions are to: i) account for producers’ market power; and ii) require implementation to be robust and time consistent. Together, these features can imply significantly lower taxes. We provide a general characterization of the optimal tax rule and illustrate it with two examples.

Suggested Citation

  • Bossi, Luca & Calcott, Paul & Petkov, Vladimir, 2011. "Optimal Tax Rules for Addictive Consumption," Working Paper Series 1673, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwecf:1673

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Driskill, Robert & McCafferty, Stephen, 2001. "Monopoly and Oligopoly Provision of Addictive Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 43-72, February.
    2. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248.
    3. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    4. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-957, July.
    5. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    6. Ken-Ichi Akao, 2008. "Tax schemes in a class of differential games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 35(1), pages 155-174, April.
    7. Parry, Ian W.H. & Laxminarayan, Ramanan & West, Sarah E., 2006. "Fiscal and Externality Rationales for Alcohol Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-06-51, Resources For the Future.
    8. 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.
    9. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
    10. Craig A. Gallet & John A. List, 2003. "Cigarette demand: a meta-analysis of elasticities," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 821-835.
    11. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How to tax addictions
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-08-25 19:18:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Haradhan Kumar Mohajan, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Taxes Due to Health Effect," KASBIT Business Journals, Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 4, pages 1-19, December.

    More about this item


    dynamic externalities; internalities; addiction; optimal taxation; time consistent implementation;

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