Taxation as a Public Health Instrument: Lessons from Cigarette Taxation
Joel Slemrod, Business School
A CLOSUP Major Projects Program (FY 2006) award.
The taxation of cigarettes raises ethical issues about the singling out a segment of society on the basis of its tastes, political issues concerning the paternalistic role of government, public health issues about the social cost of smoking, and also economics questions such as the effectiveness of price increases in suppressing demand in light of the possible availability of untaxed alternatives. A comprehensive treatment of the issues thus requires a cross-disciplinary approach, bringing together ethicists, political scientists, public health scholars, and economists who study taxation. This project will host a conference to discuss these issues.