Founding Father and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton is said to have imposed a tax on whiskey “before the ink on the U.S. Constitution was dry”. Motivated as much by a need to increase revenues as by desire to do good, politicians often claim that “sin taxes” will fund projects that promote public health as well as curb unhealthy behavior. This panel will feature a discussion with four panelists on topics from Adam Hoffer and Todd Nesbit’s book “For Your Own Good: Taxes, Paternalism, and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century.” The book proposes that sin taxes often represent inefficient public policy and may lead to a host of ill effects and unintended consequences that fail to improve public health and disproportionately hurt the poor. For Your Own Good provides an analysis of selective taxation to motivate better policy decisions.


Dr. Thad Calabrese: Professor, New York University

Dr. Craig A. Depken II: Professor, UNC Charlotte

Adam Hoffer: Professor, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Dr. Todd Nesbit: Professor, Miller College of Business


Edward Lopez: Professor, Western Carolina University