Congratulations to Ida Haggren and Lucas Henriksson, Master students in Economics, who have received the scholarship for the student paper of the year in health economics 2023. The prize is awarded by the The Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE) and the Bengt Jönsson Foundation for Health Economics Research.
In their first year Master's thesis "European Tobacco Taxation and Youth Smoking – Findings from two decades of Health Behaviour in School-aged Children surveys", Ida and Lucas have examined how well taxation as a policy instrument works to get young people to smoke less when the prices for consuming cigarettes increase.
Congratulations! Tell us, why did you want to study taxation and smoking?
Ida: ”We find it interesting to look at how you can change behaviour. Taxation is a common tool used to change behaviour and smoking is a problem in society as it carries the risk of various diseases. We found a small hole in the research that was reasonably limited in an interesting topic.”
Lucas: ”That taxation affects behaviour is something you learn early on in economic theory. The results of our study contradict the textbook example - it turned out that taxation in this context had very little effect. But we also found that it affects different groups differently. We saw that increased taxes can affect one's decision to try smoking, but we found no effect on the decision to smoke more often.”
How did you feel about winning the scholarship?
Lucas: ”It felt very, very good. I was surprised but happy.”
Ida: ”It feels pretty amazing to win such a big and nice scholarship.”
What will you do next?
Ida: ”We are both keen to do doctoral studies, so it feels good to have external feedback that we are doing something right.”
Lucas: ”We both want to dig more into how taxation affects people's behaviour.”
What will your second year Master's thesis be about?
Lucas: ”It depends on what we find.”
Ida: ”But something fun, maybe taxes again!”