Do sin tax hikes spur cheating in interpersonal exchange?

David G. Kenchington, Thomas D. Shohfi, Jared D. Smith, Roger M. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We study the New York City taxi market to examine whether an excise tax hike on cigarettes corresponds to smoker taxi drivers more frequently cheating their customers. Increased cheating could be motivated by both financial pressures and as a reaction to unfair treatment (as surveyed smokers view cigarette tax hikes as quite unfair). We examine this question using detailed ride-level data where we can identify a rare but fraudulent overcharging technique (cheating) and a subsample of taxi drivers who smoke (affected taxpayers, identified via tickets for smoking in a cab). In difference-in-differences regressions we find that following a cigarette tax hike, taxi drivers who smoke are approximately 1.5 times more likely to cheat customers than other drivers. Our findings are strongest in the subsample of smokers with consistently low earnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101281
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Cheating
  • Fairness
  • Taxes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Information Systems and Management


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