Taxation and Moral Regulation

In the Middle Ages, the price of alcohol was limited by law. Today, excise duties are used to inflate prices and, in the rhetoric of the Coalition Government, to help regulate ‘problem-drinking’.

So, when and why did alcohol become a legitimate object of taxation? Have alcohol excise duties become a means of behavioural regulation? What normative or moral judgments are involved in their use?

Drawing on wider social science literature on regulation and governmentality, this project investigates the historical development of alcohol excise duties as a way to govern behaviour.