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Analyze the Importance of the Elasticity of Demand in a Government Decision to enforce a Specific Tax on the Buyers of Cigarettes.

Price Elasticity of Demand ( PED ) measures the per centum alteration in the monetary value of a merchandise, to the per centum alteration of demand for that same merchandise. It is measured through changing grades of snap. An inelastic good agencies that a alteration in monetary value will hold a really small consequence on the demand. Due to PED= % ? Q / % ? P, inelastic ¬≠goods have a PED & A ; lt ; 1, explicating the gradient of the graph in Figure 1. If a merchandise is wholly inelastic ( PED=0 ) , it implys that nevertheless much a revenue enhancement increases, it does non affect demand, as consumers are still traveling to purchase it. If the monetary value doubles and people buy more than half of what they were originally traveling to purchase, it ‘s inelastic. If it ‘s less than half, it ‘s elastic. Because smoke is habit-forming, and purchasers are ever willing to pay, it is inelastic.

Tax is the procedure in which the authorities influences the economic system, and is the footing of the Fiscal Policy. The chief motive for this policy is gross, as revenue enhancement raises money to pass on bettering society for the populace, for illustration bettering the NHS, schools and roads. It besides helps redistribute wealth more every bit among the populace, and cut down negative outwardnesss. There are two types of indirect revenue enhancement. Ad Valorem Tax is implemented most often, where the revenue enhancement attached to a good is correlated to the monetary value it is being sold at, so is a per centum of the entire monetary value, presently levied at the standard rate of 15 % . However, Specific Tax is a signifier of indirect revenue enhancement that is non based on the value of the goods, merely the measure. For illustration, if two packages of coffin nails both contained 20 coffin nails, one was priced at & A ; lb ; 5.99 and the other at & A ; lb ; 2.99, because they both contain the same measure, the revenue enhancement added would be a changeless value, irrespective of the original merchandising monetary value. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when looking at monetary value snap of demands and revenue enhancement. The availabilty of replacements will do demand more elastic, as clients have more options to purchase. However, when there are no appropriate replacements, and the client does non hold the ability to prorogue consumtion, they are seen as a necessity, and hence the monetary value snap of demand will be really inelastic.

When sing specific revenue enhancement being compulsory for purchasers of coffin nails, and the alterations this would convey about sing snap, the habit-forming component of niccotine must be taken into history as to what effects this would hold on demand. It is shown that “ revenue enhancements on coffin nails can be raised about 2.5 times the current degree without any autumn in gross ” ( Rigo, 2005 ) . Therefore, the demand for coffin nails will be inelastic. As shown in Figure 1, the demand for an inelastic goods such as coffin nails, is really unresponsive to a alteration in monetary value.

The creative activity of a larger specific revenue enhancement for coffin nails is non merely a load on the consumer nevertheless. The manufacturer may hold to take down their original monetary value to do certain their clients still purchase their merchandise. This means the company has to absorb most of the revenue enhancement if the PED is elastic. However, the option is that the concern can go through the revenue enhancement on to the consumer by increasing the monetary value of a good, and this is called switching the load of revenue enhancement. Sing as coffin nails have a really inelastic demand, this gives the company the ability and assurance to increase monetary values without worrying about loss of gross revenues. This is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 shows the consequence that a specific revenue enhancement has on consumers when demand is inelastic. It will do demand to fall from D to Dt, which causes the measure demanded to fall from q* to qt. The equilibrium monetary value after the revenue enhancement is Ps, which is what the manufacturers will bear down, and adding the revenue enhancement on top of that monetary value will give Personal computer, with the revenue enhancement gross being AC.

Similarly, when demand is elastic and a specific revenue enhancement is imposed, it will do demand to switch left from F to Ft. this will do the measure demanded to besides fall. With a new equilibrium, providers will bear down Ts, nevertheless consumers are paying Tc. This is shown in Figure 3.

Therefore, due to the fact that demand for coffin nails is extremely inelastic, the infliction of a specific revenue enhancement on consumers for this good will hold small consequence on the measure bought, as shown in Figure 2.

Another major lending factor to the revenue enhancement incidence is called the Deadweight Loss, which is shown by the shaded trigon In both Figure 2 and Figure 3. B+D is the dead weight loss that occurs due to the infliction of the revenue enhancement on consumers. In the instance of coffin nails, the authorities would trust to understate the size of the negative outwardness that is caused by people smoking. It shows the loss of economic activity due to the revenue enhancement.

The authorities gets a batch of positive consequences from raising gross through increasing revenue enhancements. It is needed as their budget may be running in a shortage. The populaces money could be used to cut down this. By puting a specific revenue enhancement on coffin nails, it means they get direct control over how much money they receive from each package of coffin nails bought, as it is non a per centum. Through the addition in monetary value, this will hopefully cut out a little minority of tobacco users ; nevertheless the huge bulk of the mark consumers will still be prepared to pay the increased monetary value, due to how inelastic the demand is. It disencourages tobacco users, which for the authorities ‘s image shows altruism as they are seeking to protect the wellness of their state, nevertheless, they are still profiting by having all the extra revenue enhancement. A effect of this is less people trusting on the NHS for smoking related jobs, intending the authorities can set more clip and money into bettering other facets of society. So the authorities has two motives ; the revenue enhancement decreases demand whilst besides raising gross.

Cigarettes are seen as a demerit good, intending that straight to the consumer they have a negative consequence, but besides to all of society indirectly. Some touchable costs are as follows. The NHS is put under strain as they have to cover with medical conditions as a effect of baccy ingestion. This includes the consequence of inactive smoke to non-smokers. It besides can impact production for a company, as if there is more sickness or decease due to smoking, productiveness will diminish. Another negative facet of smoke is the possible for fires. Droping coffin nails in the place, or even in public, may ensue in fires, which will set an extra strain on the authorities as they need to supply a fire service. A similar demerit is litter. Cigarette butts are littered throughout streets, and one time once more it ‘s down to your council or authorities to clean up. By enforcing a specific revenue enhancement on tobacco users, these the figure of people purchasing coffin nails will diminish somewhat ; nevertheless the biggest impact will be the addition in financess the authorities has to pass battling these jobs more expeditiously.

In societies where the authorities takes advantage of its power over bear downing society whatever it wants, black markets may look. These sell goods that are cheaper than normal goods, as they exclude any revenue enhancement implemented by authoritiess. Therefore, if the authorities imposed an utmost revenue enhancement on coffin nails and the mark market could non afford the merchandise, they could turn to black markets. “ In England, one-half of all coffin nails are sold on the black market. ” ( Smoking Aloud, 2006 ) These markets are really damaging to the authorities, as it means that they start to lose a fragment of control over coffin nails, and accordingly they can non maintain accurate records of the nicotine market. The habit-forming nature of smoke could take to more people utilizing black markets as demand is so inelastic.

Although the demand for coffin nails has been really inelastic, there is grounds that a ‘tipping point ‘ may be nearing, intending the authorities will hold to be careful about how much revenue enhancement they place on the merchandise. The grounds for this alteration is the recent roar in utility goods, such as nicotine spots and masticating gum, nevertheless, this lone affects coffin nail gross revenues on a little scale- “ for every & A ; lb ; 1 spent on nicotine replacing, over & As ; lb ; 130 is spent on coffin nails ” ( Riley, 2006 ) . Equally long as the PED is really inelastic, the authorities can command and increase the specific revenue enhancement placed on coffin nails, as the consumers will ever be willing to buy.

It is clear from the illustrations shown above that snap has a important consequence on the infliction of revenue enhancements on purchasers. In the instance of coffin nails there is an highly inelastic demand for the good, due the deficiency of presence of no close replacements and the habit-forming nature of the merchandise.


  • MANKIW, N. & A ; TAYLOR, M. ( 2006 ) Economics. Thompson Learning.
  • Rijo, J. ( 2005 ) . Research Gate [ online ] Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 25 November 2009 ]
  • Smoking Aloud ( 2006 ) . Black Market Cigarettes [ online ] Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 25 November 2009 ]