Unintended Consequences of Taxation: Cigarette Taxes and Food Stamp Take-Up
Kyle Rozema, Cornell University
This paper investigates a previously unexplored strategic response to taxation: whether cigarette excise taxes increase the take-up of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). First, we show theoretically that increases in cigarette taxes can induce non-enrolled eligible smoking households toenroll in SNAP. Second, we study these predictions empirically using the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). A $1 increase in state cigarette taxes increases cigarette pack prices by $0.72 and smoker households’ annual cigarette expenditures by $150 to $200. Then we provide evidence that a $1 increase in taxes increases food stamp take-up by about 15% among eligible smoking households.