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Accounting for Product Substitution in the Analysis of Food Taxes Targeting Obesity

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Abstract

We extend the existing literature on food taxes targeting obesity. We systematically incorporate the implicit substitution between added sugars and solid fats into a comprehensive food demand system and evaluate the effect of taxes on sugars and fats. The approach conditions how food and obesity taxes affect total calorie intake. The proposed methodology accounts for the ability of consumers to substitute leaner low-fat and low-sugar items for rich food items within the same food group. This substitution is integrated into a calibrated demand system in addition to the substitution among food groups, using recent food intake data and existing demand elasticities. Simulations of taxes on added sugars and solid fat show that their impact on consumption patterns is understated and the induced welfare loss is overstated when abstracting from the substitution possibilities within food groups.

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File URL: http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/DBS/PDFFiles/10wp518.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 10-wp518.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:10-wp518

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Keywords: Fat; sugar; low-fat and low-sugar substitutes; food demand; health policy nutrition; obesity; sweeteners; tax. JEL code: I18; Q18;

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  1. Richards, Timothy J. & Patterson, Paul M. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2004. "Obesity And Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20079, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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  3. Cash, Sean B. & Sunding, David L. & Zilberman, David, 2004. "Fat Taxes And Thin Subsidies: Prices, Diet, And Health Outcomes," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19961, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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  6. Abdulai, Awudu & Aubert, Dominique, 2004. "Nonparametric and parametric analysis of calorie consumption in Tanzania," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 113-129, April.
  7. Miao, Zhen & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2011. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Staff General Research Papers 32670, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Sanjib Bhuyan & Rigoberto A. Lopez, 1997. "Oligopoly Power in the Food and Tobacco Industries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(3), pages 1035-1043.
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  10. John C. Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sophie Drogué, 2003. "Calibration of Incomplete Demand Systems in Quantitative Analysis, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 03-wp324, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  11. Olivier Allais & Patrice Bertail & Véronique Nichèle, 2010. "The Effects of a Fat Tax on French Households' Purchases: A Nutritional Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(1), pages 228-245.
  12. Albert J. Reed & J. William Levedahl & Charles Hallahan, 2005. "The Generalized Composite Commodity Theorem and Food Demand Estimation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(1), pages 28-37.
  13. Kuchler, Fred & Tegene, Abebayehu & Harris, James Michael, 2004. "Taxing Snack Foods: What to Expect for Diet and Tax Revenues," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33607, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  14. Shankar, Bhavani, 2009. "Fat Chance: Modelling the Socio-Economic Determinants of Dietary Fat Intake in China," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51538, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  15. Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf, 2005. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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