, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 145–171 | Cite as

The demand for tobacco in post-unification Italy

  • Carlo Ciccarelli
  • Gianni De Fraja
Original Paper


This paper studies the demand for tobacco products in post-unification Italy. We construct a very detailed panel data set of yearly consumption in the 69 Italian provinces from 1871 to 1913 and use it to estimate the demand for tobacco products. We find support for the Becker and Murphy (J Polit Econ 96:675–700, 1988) rational addiction model. We also find that, in the period considered, tobacco was a normal good in Italy: aggregate tobacco consumption increased with income. Subsequently, we consider separately the four types of products which aggregate tobacco comprises (fine-cut tobacco, snuff, cigars, and cigarettes), and tentatively suggest that habit formation was a stronger factor on the persistence of consumption than physical addiction. The paper ends by showing that the introduction of the Bonsack machine in the early 1890s did not coincide with changes in the structure of the demand for tobacco, suggesting cost-driven technological change.


Smoking Italian Kingdom Rational addiction Panel data 

JEL Classification

D11 N33 I18 



We would like to thank Brian A’Hearn, Stefano Fenoaltea, Jesse Matheson, Alessandro Nuvolari, Pierpaolo Pierani, Ludovic Renou, James Rockey, Silvia Tiezzi, Chris Wallace, Jacob Weisdorf, and the audience at the April 2012 FRESH meeting in Pisa and at the Banca d’Italia for precious suggestions.


  1. Adda J, Cornaglia F (2006) Taxes, cigarette consumption, and smoking intensity. Am Econ Rev 96:1013–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alston LJ, Dupré R, Nonnenmacher T (2002) Social reformers and regulation: the prohibition of cigarettes in the United States and Canada. Explor Econ Hist 39:425–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson TW, Hsiao Cheng (1981) Estimation of dynamic models with error components. J Am Stat Assoc 76:598–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersson L, Bask M, Melkersson M (2006) Economic man and the consumption of addictive goods: the case of two goods. Subst Use Misuse 41:453–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arellano M, Bover O (1995) Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-component models. J Econom 68:29–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aristei D, Pieroni L (2008) A double-hurdle approach to modelling tobacco consumption in Italy. Appl Econ 40:2463–2476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Atkinson AB, Skegg JL (1973) Anti-smoking publicity and the demand for tobacco in the UK. Manch Sch 41:265–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Atti Parlamentari (1878) Legislatura XIII, Sessione 1878, Documenti, Progetto di Legge 38a. Camera dei Deputati, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  9. Atti Parlamentari (1907) Legislatura XXII, 1a Sessione, Discussioni, Tornata del 9 febbraio. Camera dei Deputati, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  10. Auld MC, Grootendorst P (2004) An empirical analysis of milk addiction. J Health Econ 23:1117–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Baltagi B, Griffin JM (2001) The econometrics of rational addiction: the case of cigarettes. J Bus Econ Stat 19:449–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Becker GS, Grossman M, Murphy KM (1994) An empirical analysis of cigarette addiction. Am Econ Rev 84:396–418Google Scholar
  13. Becker GS, Murphy KM (1988) A theory of rational addiction. J Polit Econ 96:675–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Benowitz NL, Porchet H, Sheiner L, Jacob P III (1988) Nicotine absorption and cardiovascular effects with smokeless tobacco use: comparison with cigarettes and nicotine gum. Clin Pharmacol Ther 44:23–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Boria P (2008) Il sistema tributario. UTET, Torino, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  16. Brandt AM (2007) The cigarette century: the rise, fall, and deadly persistence of the product that defined America. Basic Books, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Brunetti A, Felice E, Vecchi G (2011) Reddito. In: Vecchi G (eds) In ricchezza e in povertà. Il benessere degli italiani dall’Unità a oggi, Il Mulino, Bologna, pp 209–234Google Scholar
  18. Chaloupka FJ (1991) Rational addictive behavior and cigarette smoking. J Polit Econ 99:722–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chaloupka FJ, Warner KE (2000) The economics of smoking. In: Culyer AJ, Newhouse JP (eds) Handbook of health economics, volume 1, part B. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 1539–1627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chandler AD (1977) The visible hand. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Ciccarelli C (2012) The consumption of tobacco in Italy: national and regional time series, 1871–1913. Rivista di Storia Econ 28:409–452Google Scholar
  22. Ciccarelli C, De Fraja G, Matheson J (2012) Was the Italian government a profit maximiser? University of Leicester. Presented at the 2012 EARIE conferenceGoogle Scholar
  23. Ciccarelli C, Fenoaltea S (2013) Through the magnifying glass: provincial aspects of industrial growth in post-unifcation Italy. Econ Hist Rev 66:57–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Clough SB, Livi C (1956) Economic growth in Italy: an analysis of the uneven development of north and south. J Econ Hist 16:334–349Google Scholar
  25. Deaton A (1997) The analysis of household surveys. The Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. DeCicca P, Kenkel D, Mathios A (2002) Putting out the fires: will higher taxes reduce the onset of youth smoking? J Polit Econ 110:144–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Eckaus RS (1961) The North-South differential in Italian economic development. J Econ Hist 21:285–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Engleman S (1987) The impact of mass media anti-smoking publicity. Health Promot 2:63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Escario JJ, Molina JA (2001) Testing for the rational addiction hypothesis in Spanish tobacco consumption. Appl Econ Lett 8:211–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Farrelly MC, Pechacek TF, Chaloupka FJ (2005) The impact of tobacco control program expenditures on aggregate cigarette sales: 1981–2000. J Health Econ 22:843–859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Felice E (2011) Regional value added in Italy, 1891–2001, and the foundation of a long-term picture. Econ Hist Rev 64:929–950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Felice E (2012) Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital. Cliometrica 6:267–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fenoaltea S (1986) Public works construction in Italy, 1861–1913. Rivista di Storia Economica, International Issue 1–33Google Scholar
  34. Fenoaltea S (2002) Production and consumption in post-unification Italy; new evidence, new conjectures. Quaderni dell’Ufficio Ricerche Storiche, Banca d’Italia 5:54–55Google Scholar
  35. Fenoaltea S (2005) The growth of the Italian economy, 1861–1913: preliminary second-generation estimates. Eur Rev Econ Hist 8:273–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Frenk H, Dar R (2000) A critique of nicotine addiction. Kluwer, NorwellGoogle Scholar
  37. Frieden TR, Mostashari F, Kerker BD, Miller N, Hajat A, Frankel M (2005) Adult tobacco use levels after intensive tobacco control measures: New York City, 2002–2003. Am J Public Health 95:1016–1023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gilman SE, Martin LT, Abrams DB, Kawachi I, Kubzansky L, Loucks EB, Rende R, Ruddl R, Buka SL (2008) Educational attainment and cigarette smoking: a causal association? Int J Epidemiol 37:615–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Giskes K, Kunst AE, Benach J, Borrell C, Costa G, Dahl E, Dalstra JAA, Federico B, Helmert U, Judge K, Lahelma E, Moussa K, Ostergren PO, Platt S, Prattala R, Rasmussen NK, Mackenbach JP (2005) Trends in smoking behaviour between 1985 and 2000 in nine European countries by education. J Epidemiol Commun Health 59:395–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gospodinov N, Irvine I (2005) A ‘long march’ perspective on tobacco use in Canada. Can J Econ 38:366–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gruber J, Köszegi B (2001) Is addiction “rational”? theory and evidence. Q J Econ 116:1261–1303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hannah L (2006) The Whig fable of American tobacco, 1895–1913. J Econ Hist 66:42–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ISTAT (1958) Sommario di Statistiche Storiche Italiane, 1861–1955. Istituto Centrale di Statistica, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  44. Jones A, Mazzi MG (1996) Tobacco consumption and taxation in Italy: an application of the QUAIDS model. Appl Econ 28:595–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kuznets S (1928) On moving correlation of time sequences. J Am Stat Assoc 23:121–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lance PM, Akin JS, Dow WH, Loh C-P (2004) Is cigarette smoking in poorer nations highly sensitive to price? Evidence from Russia and China. J Health Econ 23:173–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lee J-M (2007) The synergistic effect of cigarette taxes on the consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and betel nuts. BMC Public Health 7:121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Luciani L (2006) Il contrabbando sulle coste del mar Tirreno e a Napoli, dall’Unitá d’Italia al 1950. Il Contrabbando sulle coste del Tirreno ed a Napoli (1950-1985). Atti del convegno organizzato dal Museo Storico della Guardia di Finanza.
  49. Manera Giovanni (1963) La domanda di tabacco in Italia. Giuffrè editore, MilanGoogle Scholar
  50. Ministero delle Finanze (1892) Relazione e bilancio industriale 1890–1891. Direzione generale delle gabelle, Azienda dei tabacchi, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  51. Ministero delle Finanze. Annuario del Regno d’Italia. Ministero delle Finanze, Rome, Italy (various years)Google Scholar
  52. Ministero delle Finanze. Bollettino di statistica e legislazione comparata. Ministero delle Finanze, Rome, Italy (various years)Google Scholar
  53. Ministero delle Finanze. Relazione sulla amministrazione del demanio e delle tasse sugli affari per gli esercizi finanziari. Ministero delle Finanze, Rome, Italy (various years)Google Scholar
  54. Ministero di Agricoltura, Industria e Commercio (1874–76) Popolazione. Censimento 31 dicembre 1871. 3 voll. Direzione Generale della Statistica, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  55. Ministero di Agricoltura, Industria e Commercio (1883–85) Censimento della popolazione del Regno d’Italia al 31 dicembre 1881. 3 voll. Direzione Generale della Statistica, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  56. Ministero di Agricoltura, Industria e Commercio (1902–04) Censimento della popolazione del Regno d’Italia al 10 febbraio 1901. 5 voll. Direzione Generale della Statistica, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  57. Ministero di Agricoltura, Industria e Commercio (1914–16) Ufficio del censimento. Censimento della popolazione del Regno d’Italia al 10 giugno 1911. 7 voll. Direzione Generale della Statistica, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  58. Mortara G (1913) Numeri indici dello stato e del progresso economico delle regioni italiane. Giornale degli Economisti e Rivista di Statistica 47:17–29Google Scholar
  59. Nguyen L, Rosenqvist G, Pekurinen M (2012) Demand for tobacco in Europe. Report 6/2012, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  60. Pierani P, Tiezzi S (2009) Addiction and interaction between alcohol and tobacco consumption. Empir Econ 37:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Plebano A (1899) Storia della finanza italiana. Dalla costituzione del nuovo regno alla fine del secolo XIX. Volume primo. Dal 1861 al 1876. Roux Frassati e Co., Turin, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  62. Richter P, Hodge K, Stanfill S, Zhang L, Watson C (2008) Surveillance of moist snuff: total nicotine, moisture, pH, un-ionized nicotine, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Nicotine Tob Res 10:1645–1652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Richter P, Spierto FW (2003) Surveillance of smokeless tobacco nicotine, pH, moisture, and unprotonated nicotine content. Nicotine Tob Res 5:885–889CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rogeberg O (2004) Taking absurd theories seriously: economics and the case of rational addiction theories. Philos Sci 71:263–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Roodman D (2009) A note on the theme of too many instruments. Oxf Bull Econ Stat 71:135–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Schneider L, Klein B, Murphy KM (1981) Governmental regulation of cigarette health information. J Law Econ 24:575–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sloan FA, Smith VK, Taylor DH Jr (2002) Information, addiction, and ‘bad choices’: lessons from a century of cigarettes. Econ Lett 77:147–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Società anonima per la regìa cointeressata dei tabacchi (1881) Risposte all’interrogatorio della commissione d’inchiesta sui tabacchi nel regno d’Italia. Tipografia Bodoniana, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  69. Sumner MT (1971) The demand for tobacco in the UK. Manch Sch 39:23–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tate C (1999) Cigarette wars: the triumph of the little white slaver. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  71. Tiezzi S (2005) An empirical analysis of tobacco addiction in Italy. The Eur J Health Econ 6:233–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vetritto G (2005) La parabola di un’industria di stato. Marsilio Editori, VeniceGoogle Scholar
  73. Warner KE (1977) The effects of the anti-smoking campaign on cigarette consumption. Am J Public Health 67:645–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Westerlund J (2007) Testing for error correction in panel data. Oxf Bull Econ Stat 69:709–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Economia e FinanzaUniversità di Roma “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Nottingham School of EconomicsNottinghamUK
  3. 3.C.E.P.RLondonUK

Personalised recommendations