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Excise taxes on smoking, drinking, gambling, polluting, and driving are always topical and controversial. Not only are these taxes convenient sources of government revenue, they can also be designed to reflect the external costs that consumers or producers of excisable products impose on other people.
Global warming, acid rain, traffic congestion, and the economic costs of cigarette and alcohol consumption are problems that can be corrected through selective excise taxes and other regulatory instruments. Excise taxes, moreover, are increasingly looked upon as revenue substitutes for distortionary taxes on capital and labour.
Addressing these and other issues, this book by internationally recognized experts analyses the art of excise taxation, providing a systematic, insightful, and often provocative treatment of a major fiscal instrument that policy-makers often neglect, and that gets little attention in the professional literature. It provides a sound understanding, not only of relevant economic theory, but of the myriad institutional details that are crucial for the practical application of that theory.