Do You Want Fries with That? An Exploration of Serving Size, Social Welfare, and Our Waistlines
AbstractGiven increasing obesity rates, fingers are often pointed at "big food" and their marketing practices. Restaurant meals are indeed larger than home-cooked meals, and portion sizes have increased. We consider constrained "socially optimal"--rather than decentralized profit-maximizing--portions to see whether welfare maximizing strategies may also be waistline-increasing. We demonstrate that socially optimal restaurant meals are larger than average home-cooked meals, yet the choice to "super-size" alleviates the size discrepancy. Moreover, portion sizes at home and in restaurants increase with relative reductions in the marginal costs and/or relative increases in the fixed costs of meal preparation. (JEL I10, D11) Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.
Volume (Year): 44 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
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- Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011.
"Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?,"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-88, January.
- Anderson, Michael L. & Matsa, David A., 2008. "Are restuarants really supersizing America?," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1056R4, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy, revised Jul 2010.
- Anderson, Michael L. & Matsa, David A., 2010. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4vm5m5vr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Reggiani, Carlo, 2011. "Size (of the product) matters," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 329-344, July.
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