Smoking out the alleged statisticians
Here’s a more than appropriate cartoon above (from John Cox Art) to accompany Eric Crampton’s pursuit of the sudden, explosive* rise in estimates of the “social cost” of tobacco from the 2007 estimate which put the cost of $300 to $350 million per annum; to the current and still-to-be- substantiated work somewhere within the bowels of the Ministry of Health that suggests, for no good reason, that the figure has now jumped to be “as high as $1 to $1.6 billion per annum.”
Given that sudden jump is being used to justify the sudden inordinate hike in taxes on poor smokers, you think there’s maybe some politics going on here?
Keep up with Eric’s pursuit through his Tobacco posts. The denouement promises to be good.
And make sure too to congratulate him and Mrs Eric while you’re there on the birth of their new bundle of
sleeplessness joy—the announcement of which must be among the most anti-climactic ever. (“Only an economist…” etc.)
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*Yes, I know: if it’s explosive it must by definition be sudden. But how else to explain the inflation of tobacco costs by one billion dollars in one year except by an inflationary use of words?