THE IMPACT OF CIGARETTE ADVERTISING ON CONSUMER SURPLUS, PROFIT, AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Carol Horton Tremblay
Victor J. Tremblay
This study estimates the effect of U.S. cigarette advertising on social welfare. Because economists hold different beliefs about the nature of advertising, the analysis uses three different empirical models to test the welfare implication of cigarette advertising. Each model employs estimates of a demand equation and a supply relation to calculate a single point estimate of the impact of advertising on profit, consumer surplus, and total surplus. Bootstrapping generates confidence intervals for each welfare estimate. The results indicate that the cigarette industry is not competitive and that advertising significantly increases market power. Further, advertising significantly reduces consumer surplus if it is either purely persuasive or purely informative but has no significant effect on total surplus. Copyright 1995 Western Economic Association International.
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