Taxing Sin: A Win-Win for Everyone?

2 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2010 Last revised: 18 Oct 2010

Date Written: October 16, 2010


In this article, the author reviews the history of taxing sin in the United States, showing that revenue needs usually triumph over sumptuary considerations. He suggests that this may lead to legalization of at least some illegal drugs so that they can be taxed, as recently proposed in California in the case of marijuana.

Keywords: Sin Taxes, Sumptuary Taxes, Prohibition, Cigarettes, Marijuana

JEL Classification: E62, H23, K34

Suggested Citation

Bartlett, Bruce, Taxing Sin: A Win-Win for Everyone? (October 16, 2010). Tax Notes, Vol. 128, No. 12, p. 1289, September 20, 2010, Available at SSRN:

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