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Taxing Caloric Sweetened Beverages: Potential Effects on Beverage Consumption, Calorie Intake, and Obesity

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Author Info

  • Smith, Travis A.
  • Biing-Hwan, Lin
  • Lee, Jonq-Ying

Abstract

The link between high U.S. obesity rates and the overconsumption of added sugars, largely from sodas and fruit drinks, has prompted public calls for a tax on caloric sweetened beverages. Faced with such a tax, consumers may reduce consumption of these sweetened beverages and substitute nontaxed beverages, such as bottled water, juice, and milk. This study estimated that a tax-induced 20-percent price increase on caloric sweetened beverages could cause an average reduction of 37 calories per day, or 3.8 pounds of body weight over a year, for adults and an average of 43 calories per day, or 4.5 pounds over a year, for children. Given these reductions in calorie consumption, results show an estimated decline in adult overweight prevalence (66.9 to 62.4 percent) and obesity prevalence (33.4 to 30.4 percent), as well as the child at-risk-for-overweight prevalence (32.3 to 27.0 percent) and the overweight prevalence (16.6 to 13.7 percent). Actual impacts would depend on many factors, including how the tax is reflected in consumer prices and the competitive strategies of beverage manufacturers and food retailers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 95465.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:95465

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Related research

Keywords: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB); soft drinks; soda tax; added sugars; obesity; and beverage demand; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Health Economics and Policy;

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References

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  1. Chouinard Hayley H & Davis David E & LaFrance Jeffrey T & Perloff Jeffrey M, 2007. "Fat Taxes: Big Money for Small Change," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-30, June.
  2. Craig A. Gallet & John A. List, 2003. "Cigarette demand: a meta-analysis of elasticities," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 821-835.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2011. "Tax incidence with strategic firms on the soft drink market," TSE Working Papers 11-233, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jul 2012.
  2. Papoutsi, Georgia & Nayga, Rodolfo & Lazaridis, Panagiotis & Drichoutis, Andreas, 2013. "Nudging parental health behavior with and without children's pestering power: Fat tax, subsidy or both?," MPRA Paper 52324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Berardi, N. & Sevestre, P. & Tepaut, M. & Vigneron, A., 2012. "The impact of a `soda tax' on prices. Evidence from French micro data," Working papers 415, Banque de France.
  4. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, 09.
  5. Finkelstein, Eric A. & Zhen, Chen & Bilger, Marcel & Nonnemaker, James & Farooqui, Assad M. & Todd, Jessica E., 2013. "Implications of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax when substitutions to non-beverage items are considered," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 219-239.
  6. Silva, Andres & Etilé, Fabrice & Boizot-Szantai, Christine & Dharmasena, Senarath, 2013. "The Impact of Beverage Taxes on Quantity and Quality of Consumption in France," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150428, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  7. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2011. "The Socio-Economic Causes of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Okrent, Abigail M. & Alston, Julian M., 2011. "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States," Working Papers 162516, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics.
  9. Rhodes, Charles, 2012. "A Dynamic Model of Failure to Maximize Utility in the Chronic Consumer Choice to Consume Foods High in Added Sugars," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124693, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  10. Todd, Jessica E. & Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Penberthy, Corttney, 2011. "Geographic Differences in the Relative Price of Healthy Foods," Economic Information Bulletin 117976, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

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