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Keywords:

  • cigarette demand;
  • discrete choice models;
  • substitution;
  • cigarette tax
  • D42;
  • H22;
  • I10

Abstract

This paper examines how Chinese smokers respond to tax-driven cigarette price increases by estimating a discrete choice model of demand for differentiated products, using annual nationwide brand-level cigarette sales data in China from 2005 to 2010. We allow for substitution between different cigarette brands and also incorporate key features of rational addiction theory into the model. Results show that the average own-price elasticity of demand for cigarettes at the brand level is –0.807, and the overall price elasticity of cigarettes at the market level is –0.488 in China. We find tax-induced substitution toward low-price cigarettes as well as high-tar cigarettes and that tax hikes encourage within-class substitution more than across-class substitution. These results have important policy implications for the potential effects of cigarette taxation. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.