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Experimental economics shows how food price policies may improve diet while increasing socioeconomic inequalities in nutrition

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  • Darmon, N.
  • Lacroix, A.
  • Muller, L.
  • Ruffieux, B.

Abstract

The aime of this paper is to compare the impact of food price policies on the nutritional quality of food baskets chosen by low-income and medium-income women. Experimental economics was used to simulate a fruit and vegetable price subsidy (FV policy) and a mixed policy subsidizing healthy products and taxing unhealthy ones(NP policy)Low-income (n=95) and medium–income (n=33) women selected a daily food basket at current prices and then at policy prices. Energy density (ED) and the mean adequacy ratio (MAR) were used as nutritional quality indicators. At baseline, low-income women selected less healthy baskets than medium–income ones (less fruit and vegetables, more unhealthy products,higher ED, lower MAR). Both policies improved nutritional quality (fruit and vegetable quantities increased, ED decreased,the MAR increased), but the magnitude of the improvement was often lower among low income women. For instance, their ED decreased by 5.3% with the FV policy and by 7.3% with the NP policy, whereas decreases of 13.2% and 12.6% respectively were recorded for the medium–income group.

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File URL: http://www.grenoble.inra.fr/Docs/pub/A2011/gael2011-05.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL) in its series Working Papers with number 201104.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:gbl:wpaper:201104

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Keywords: FOOD PRICE; NUTRITION POLICY; PUBLIC POLICY; NUTRITION; NUTRITIONAL QUALITY; CONSUMER BEHAVIOR; SOCIOECONOMIC INEQUALITY;

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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.
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  9. Smed, Sinne & Jensen, Jorgen D. & Denver, Sigrid, 2007. "Socio-economic characteristics and the effect of taxation as a health policy instrument," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 624-639.
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  11. Charles Noussair & StÈphane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2004. "Do Consumers Really Refuse To Buy Genetically Modified Food?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 102-120, 01.
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