DP14388 Consumer Taxes on Alcohol: An International Comparison over Time

Author(s): Kym Anderson
Publication Date: February 2020
Keyword(s): alcohol import tariffs, Consumer tax equivalents, Excise taxes
JEL(s): D12, D62, E62, H23, I18, P46
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14388

Rates of alcohol taxation, and the types of tax instruments used, vary enormously between countries and have tended to rise in recent times. Within each country they also vary between beverages, and often between qualities and styles of each beverage. This paper computes consumer tax equivalents in US dollars per litre of alcohol and as percentages of wholesale prices of representative beverages for 42 high-and middle-income countries. That allows comparisons across countries of taxes not just for each product on its own but also relative to those for other alcoholic beverages. The wide dispersion of rates and differences in tax instruments across countries and products suggest differing strengths of health and welfare lobbyists and industry groups in influencing government decision-making.