Cigarette Taxes & Birth Outcomes: Empirical Evidence from Canada
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Waterloo
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Davis Centre 1304, University of Waterloo
View Video of Presentation in HI Alive Archive: Research Seminars Archive 2007-2008
Little evidence exists on the impacts of significant reductions in cigarette taxes on smoking by pregnant women. We attempt to measure the effects of lower taxes on smoking by pregnant and non-pregnant women surveyed in the National Population Health Survey through the rich cross-province variation available from the 50% reduction in Canadian excise tobacco taxes enacted in 1994 in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. We also estimate the impacts of these tax reductions on the incidence of low birth weight births, fetal deaths, and infant mortalities using data across Canadian provinces from 1982 to 1999. This study is the first to evaluate the impacts of lower cigarette taxes on fetal deaths and infant mortalities, allowing us to comprehensively evaluate the efficacy of tax policy with respect to birth outcomes. Our results suggest that participation and daily smoking elasticities for pregnant and non-pregnant women are not regressive and decrease with household income. However, the significant reductions in taxes is associated with only a very small increase in the incidence of low birth weight babies and fetal deaths.
About the Speaker
Anindya Sen is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo (UW). He is also an affiliated research scientist for the Center for Behavioral Research and Program Evaluation at UW. He received the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 2004, which was given by the students of the Economics Society. Dr. Sen’s research fields are Industrial Organization, Health Economics. His research interests are in applications of public policy to smoking and alcohol consumption. Some of his past research has looked at the link between abortion and crime rates, pregnancy and beer prices, and media publicity and alcohol consumption by drivers. Along with Emma Pierard, he is one of the principal investigators on “Maternal Smoking, Infant Birth Weight, and Cigarette Taxes” research project. Dr. Sen has a BA (Delhi), a MA (Concordia), and a PhD (Toronto).