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The demand for tobacco in post-unification Italy

Ciccarelli, Carlo; De Fraja, Gianni


Carlo Ciccarelli


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.


Ciccarelli, C., & De Fraja, G. (2014). The demand for tobacco in post-unification Italy. Cliometrica, 8(2), 145-171.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 10, 2013
Online Publication Date May 18, 2013
Publication Date May 1, 2014
Deposit Date Sep 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 24, 2015
Journal Cliometrica
Print ISSN 1863-2505
Electronic ISSN 1863-2513
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 145-171
Keywords Smoking, Italian Kingdom, Rational addiction, Panel data
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


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