Selective Consumption Taxes in Historical Perspective

Excerpt from Adam J. Hoffer and Todd Nesbit, eds., For Your Own Good: Taxes, Paternalism, and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century. Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2018.

22 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2018

See all articles by William F. Shughart

William F. Shughart

Huntsman School of Business; The Independent Institute

Date Written: January 3, 2018

Abstract

America’s history of selective consumption taxes dates back to the colonial era, when revolutionaries protested against taxes on tea and paper goods. While the Revolution was prompted in part by opposition to selective consumption taxes, this chapter describes how Alexander Hamilton implemented a selective consumption tax on whiskey to cover the American war debt shortly after America won its independence. The whiskey tax had characteristics common to selective consumption taxes we see today.

Keywords: taxation, sin taxes, economic history, Alexander Hamilton, whiskey, alcohol

JEL Classification: H2, H71

Suggested Citation

Shughart, William Franklin, Selective Consumption Taxes in Historical Perspective (January 3, 2018). Excerpt from Adam J. Hoffer and Todd Nesbit, eds., For Your Own Good: Taxes, Paternalism, and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century. Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2018.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3169964

William Franklin Shughart (Contact Author)

Huntsman School of Business ( email )

3565 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3565
United States

The Independent Institute ( email )

100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.independent.org

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