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Food Prices and Overweight Patterns in Italy

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  • Luca Pieroni
  • Donatella Lanari
  • Luca Salmasi

Abstract

In this paper we examine the role of relative food prices in determining the recent increase in body weight in Italy. Cross-price elasticities of unhealthy and healthy foods estimated by a demand system provide a consistent framework to evaluate substitution effects, when a close association is assumed between unhealthy (healthy) foods and more (less) energy-dense foods. We used a dataset constructed from a series of cross-sections of the Italian Household Budget Survey (1997-2005) to obtain the variables of the demand system, which accounts for regional price variability. The relative increase of healthy food prices was found to produce nontrivial elasticities of substitution towards higher relative consumption of unhealthy foods, with effects on weight outcomes. In addition, these changes were unevenly distributed among individuals and were particularly significant for those who were poorer and had less education.

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Paper provided by Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels in its series EERI Research Paper Series with number EERI_RP_2010_40.

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Date of creation: 20 Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2010_40

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Keywords: Household Survey Data; Healthy and Unhealthy Foods; Overweight and Obesity; Elasticity of Substitution.;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2010. "Body weight and socio-economic determinants: quantile estimations from the British Household Panel Survey," MPRA Paper 26434, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Rodolfo M. Nayga & Panagiotis Lazaridis & Andreas C. Drichoutis, 2013. "Nudging parental health behavior with and without children's pestering power: Fat tax, subsidy or both?," Working Papers, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics 2013-5, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
  3. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.
  4. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2012. "Does cigarette smoking affect body weight? causal estimates from the clean indoor air law discontinuity," MPRA Paper 38338, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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