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Lunch with Pigou: Externalities and the “Hidden†Cost of Food

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  • Lusk, Jayson L.

Abstract

Social critics have taken aim at modern production agriculture using a common theme: many food, health, and environmental problems are explained by corporate farms, agribusinesses, and fast-food restaurants failing to account for the full costs of their actions. How accurate is this diagnosis? How feasible is the assumption that these externalities are most effectively mitigated via Pigovian taxes and subsidies? Drawing on my experiences at a National Institute of Medicine meeting on the subject, I seek to clarify the definition and nature of externalities and discuss situations in which public policy is most and least effective in efficiently making "hidden†costs of food visible.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/161383
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association in its journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:ags:arerjl:161383

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Web page: http://www.narea.org/
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Related research

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Environmental Economics and Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Health Economics and Policy; Public Economics; agricultural policy; externality; food policy; food prices;

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Economics versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 173-92, Spring.
  2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes: General equilibrium analyses," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73560, Tilburg University.
  3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Randall G. Holcombe & Russell S. Sobel, 2001. "Public Policy Toward Pecuniary Externalities," Public Finance Review, , vol. 29(4), pages 304-325, July.
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  7. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Bhattacharya, Jay & Bundorf, M. Kate, 2009. "The incidence of the healthcare costs of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 649-658, May.
  9. Giorgio Brunello & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano, 2009. "The rise of obesity in Europe: an economic perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 24, pages 551-596, 07.
  10. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
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