Carlo Ciccarelli

The Consumption of Tobacco in Italy, 1871-1913: National and Regional Estimates

  • Abstract

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This paper provides an historical account of the consumption of manufactured tobacco in post-Unification Italy. The main phases of the monopoly are first reviewed. National and regional time series estimates for the years from 1871 to 1913 are then presented. At the national level, the new figures document a long-term reduction in per-capita consumption and a long-term increase in real per-capita spending. Per-capita real spending on tobacco followed rather closely the familiar Kuznets cycle with upper turning points in the mid-1870s, 1887, and, at an unprecedented level, in the pre-WWI years. The new estimates provide additional support to the «optimistic view» of the much debated «crisis» of the 1880s. The longitudinal features of the new regional estimates are also exploited. A standard myopic model of tobacco consumption is considered and tentative estimates of both short and long run income and price elasticities are provided. The paper ends by presenting possible directions for future research.

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