Document Type




Format of Original

26 p.

Publication Date



SAGE Publications

Source Publication

Public Finance Review

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1177/1091142115591204


We use a unique, geocoded micro data set of retail prices to estimate the incidence of alcohol taxation. We estimate the pass-through of alcohol taxation employing both standard ordinary least squares (OLS) and a regression discontinuity design (RDD), using the abrupt change in excise tax occurring at state borders for identification. Our results show that sales and excise taxes on alcohol have different effects on final consumer price. Our estimates suggest that while 40 percent to 50 percent of sales taxes are passed on to consumers, excise taxes have a negative pass-through rate. Negative rates of pass-through on the excise portion of the alcohol tax are likely the result of consumers overreacting to the tax compared to how they would react to a general price increase, or that the alcohol tax is quite salient for consumers. This effect is particularly strong in areas near state borders when using the RDD estimation strategy.


Accepted version. Public Finance Review, (June 24, 2015). DOI. © 2015 SAGE Publications. Used with permission.

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