The Incidence of Tobacco Taxation: Evidence from Geographic Micro-Level Data
46 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2008
Date Written: September 2008
This paper uses a recent increase in the state of Wisconsin's tobacco tax as a natural experiment to measure the economic incidence of tobacco taxation. We estimate the economic incidence of tobacco taxation using micro level data on cigarette prices collected from retail locations in Wisconsin and states that share its border. We find that Wisconsin's $1.00 increase in tobacco tax was over-shifted to consumers; they pay the entire amount of the tax as well as a premium of between $0.08 and $0.17 per pack of cigarettes. We use geo-coded data to test if the incidence of the tobacco tax in Wisconsin is different for retail locations near another state's border (where taxation is different). We find that retail locations near another state's border still pass along the entire amount of the tax to consumers, but the premium charged over the amount of the tax is reduced by between 13 and 54 percent depending on the distance in question and the econometric specification.
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