Reservation Prices: An Economic Analysis of Cigarette Purchases on Indian Reservations

42 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2014

See all articles by Philip DeCicca

Philip DeCicca

McMaster University - Department of Economics; Ball State--Department of Economics

Donald Kenkel

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Feng Liu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics; The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Date Written: December 2014

Abstract

The special legal status of Indian tribes in the U.S. means that state excise taxes are not necessarily collected on cigarette purchases on Indian reservations. We focus on two under-studied but basic empirical economic questions this raises. Using novel data from New York surveys that asked directly about cigarette prices and purchases from reservations, we first ask: What is the economic incidence of the tax break? In data from New York over a period when the state did not attempt to collect taxes on reservation purchases, our estimates suggest that the tax break is usually fully shifted to the consumer. The notable exception is on one reservation where a tribal monopoly captures almost half of the tax break. Second, we ask: Has the tax break increased consumer demand for low-quality cigarettes relative to high-quality cigarettes? New York's cigarette tax is a fixed amount per pack, providing an opportunity to test the Alchian and Allen substitution theorem. We find some support for the prediction that the tax break increases consumer demand for lower-quality cigarettes.

Suggested Citation

DeCicca, Philip and Kenkel, Donald and Liu, Feng, Reservation Prices: An Economic Analysis of Cigarette Purchases on Indian Reservations (December 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20778. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2541554

Philip DeCicca (Contact Author)

McMaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

Ball State--Department of Economics ( email )

United States

Donald Kenkel

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-2594 (Phone)
607-255-4071 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Feng Liu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, AK Shanghai 200433
China

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen ( email )

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
204
PlumX Metrics