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CHEPA's Phil DeCicca awarded Canada Research Chair in Public Economics

29 Nov 2010

CHEPA member Phil DeCicca has received a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Public Economics that he will use to pursue his research program investigating the effectiveness of cigarette tax policy.

DeCicca, an associate professor in the Department of Economics, wants to know why raising taxes doesn’t push more people to quit smoking, and will look specifically at smuggling behavior, using novel data from U.S. and Canadian sources.

“My Canada Research Chair will allow me to pursue a new branch of my research,” said DeCicca. “I've been studying smoking behaviours and discovered that most people don't quit when higher taxes are added to the cost of cigarettes. Now I'll be able to take a closer look at tax avoidance behaviours such as smuggling, cross-border purchasing and buying illegal cigarettes from smoke shacks.”

 DeCicca was one of five people at McMaster University to receive new CRCs as part of a $275-million investment in the program announced by federal Industry Minister Tony Clement at a conference in Toronto marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the chairs program. The money will fund 310 new and renewed chairs at 53 universities across Canada. McMaster’s share is $12 million.

The CRC program is designed to attract and retain top academic talent by providing funding to promising and established researchers across a wide range of fields.

DeCicca has been a CHEPA faculty member since 2006. His research focuses on health, labour and public economics, specifically the economics of smoking and of other health behaviours.

In 2008 he was granted the Polanyi Prize in Economics. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Program in Health Economics. He earned both a master’s degree and a PhD at the University of Michigan.

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