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Measurement of State Alcohol Taxes


APIS has developed two papers that are designed to assist researchers in using APIS alcohol tax data in the design of research studies.



Michael D. Klitzner, PhD

This paper compares several indices of State alcohol taxes to determine whether there is a method for making cross-State comparisons of economic availability that is more precise than relying on the specific excise tax measure, the variable used to index economic availability in most alcohol policy studies.

The results demonstrate that using specific excise taxes to index differences among States in economic availability of alcohol may not be the best measurement choice.  Instead, using specific excise taxes plus ad valorem excise taxes, or what we call a total tax measure, is more precise than using specific excise tax alone.  Additionally, a total tax measure provides the most precision among the three indices.

Citation:  Klitzner, Michael. Improving the Measurement of State Alcohol Taxes. 2012.



Michael Klitzner, PhD and Michael Hilton, PhD

This paper further develops the Total Tax measure introduced in Klitzner (2012) and compares its performance to the more common measure of Specific Excise Tax only as an index of economic availability. The paper has three main purposes:

  1. To offer Total Tax as an alternative measure of economic availability of alcohol;
  2. To increase awareness that most of the data needed to calculate Total Tax are available on the APIS website;
  3. To encourage alcohol policy researchers to include Total Tax in their economic availability studies to build a corpus of data on Total Tax.

Data are presented that, at least for adult binging on-site, provide preliminary evidence that Total Tax provides a more precise representation of State alcohol taxes than the more commonly used measure of Specific Excise Tax only.

Citation:  Klitzner, Michael, and Hilton, Michael. Total Tax: A Suggested Method for Calculating Alcohol Beverage Taxes. 2015.

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