Publicado por: claudio | março 12, 2010

O papel social do economista

Começa, claro, na sala de aula. Mas passa pela econometria feita com apuro. Por exemplo, podemos diminuir o vício em cigarros através do aumento dos preços. Como?

In recent work, co-authors and I claim that policymakers in lower-income countries would be able to reduce youth cigarette consumption through tax policies that increase the price of cigarettes (Kostova et al. 2010). Using individual-level data from 20 developing countries, we estimate that the price elasticity of cigarette demand among youth is -1.83.

We focus on youth (the average age in our sample is 14 years) since smoking habits are established primarily in adolescence, making this the optimal age for intervention. Our data come from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), combined with cigarette price data from the Economist Intelligence Unit Cost of Living Survey.

Our total price elasticity estimate can be decomposed into two parts:

  • the price elasticity of smoking participation (-0.63), and
  • the price elasticity of consumption intensity (-1.2).

The first represents the effect of price on smoking prevalence while the second represents the effect of price on the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers. We estimate that a 10% increase in price would reduce youth smoking rates by 6.3%. We also estimate that a 10% increase in price would reduce the average number of cigarettes consumed by young smokers by 12%. Overall, a 10% increase in cigarette price would reduce youth cigarette demand by 18.3%.

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