Who Would Benefit from Repealing Tampon Taxes? Empirical Evidence from New Jersey
42 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017 Last revised: 13 Sep 2017
Date Written: July 27, 2017
Many state and local governments exclude some medical products from the sales tax base, including some that are primarily used by men such as hair growth products. However, tampons and other menstrual hygiene products are subject to sales taxes in most states. A recent social movement advocates for the repeal of these “tampon taxes.” In this article, we use the 2005 elimination of menstrual hygiene products from the sales tax base in New Jersey as a natural experiment to study who benefits from the repeal of tampon taxes. We find that consumers obtain most of the tax benefit from the repeal, but that the tax benefit is not distributed equally. Low-income women obtain a benefit from the repeal of the tax law by more than the size of the repealed tax. For high-income women, however, the benefit of the tax repeal is shared equally with producers. The results suggest that repealing tampon taxes removes the unequal tax burden for menstruating women and could make tampons more accessible for low-income women than previously thought.
Keywords: Tampon Taxes, Tax Incidence
JEL Classification: K34, H22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation