The 'fat tax': economic incentives to reduce obesity
AbstractThis Briefing Note looks at the potential for the introduction of a "fat tax" into the UK in an effort to reduce the growing prevalence of obesity in Britain. There are different forms such a tax could take. One possibility is to tax the nutrient contents of foods such that those containing more fat or salt, for example, are taxed more heavily. Alternatively, particular types of foods, such as snacks or soft drinks, could be subject to a tax, or VAT could be extended to foods that are currently zero-rated but have a high fat content. Revenue from a "fat tax" could be used in various ways, such as financing subsidies for healthy foods or exercise equipment, funding advertising campaigns for healthy eating or in schools. Alternatively, it could form part of general government receipts. This Briefing Note will look at trends in UK obesity (Section 2) and examine evidence on eating habits and exercise in order to see whether trends here can account for what we see happening to obesity (Section 3). We will then go on, in Section 4, to review some of the key economic reasons behind why we might be concerned about obesity and why we might consider there to be a case for government intervention. Moving on, we discuss how food is currently taxed (Section 5) and the various ways in which a "fat tax" might be introduced (Section 6), looking at particular issues the government might need to address should it wish to introduce one. We will finish in Section 7 by presenting some simple analysis of a hypothetical "fat tax" in terms of how it might impact differently on the rich and the poor. Section 8 concludes.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University College London in its series Open Access publications from University College London with number http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/14931/.
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.ucl.ac.uk
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Gannon, Brenda & Layte, Richard & McGregor, Pat & Madden, David & Nolan, Anne & O'Neill, Ciaran & Smith, Samantha, 2007. "The Provision and Use of Health Services, Health Inequalities and Health and Social Gain," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BMI196 edited by Nolan, Brian.
- Etilé, F, 2008.
"Food Price Policies and the Distribution of Body Mass Index: Theory and Empirical Evidence from France,"
Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers
08/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
- Fabrice Etilé, 2009. "Food price policies and the distribution of body mass index: Theory and empirical evidence from France," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586720, HAL.
- Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2010.
"Does the EU Sugar Policy Reform Increase Added Sugar Consumption? An Empirical Evidence on the Soft Drink Market,"
TSE Working Papers
10-197, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Céline Bonnet & Vincent Requillart, 2011. "Does the EU sugar policy reform increase added sugar consumption? An empirical evidence on the soft drink market," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(9), pages 1012-1024, 09.
- Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2010. "Does the EU Sugar Policy Reform Increase Added Sugar Consumption? An Empirical Evidence on the Soft Drink Market," IDEI Working Papers 641, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586720 is not listed on IDEAS
- Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2012.
"Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax Or Final Consumption Tax?,"
Contemporary Economic Policy,
Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 344-361, 07.
- Miao, Zhen & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61511, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
- Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 10-wp510, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
- 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.
- Miao, Zhen & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Staff General Research Papers 31969, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- David Madden, 2007.
"Health Interventions and Risky Behaviour,"
200709, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Madden, David (David Patrick), 2007. "Health interventions and risky behaviour," Open Access publications from University College Dublin urn:hdl:10197/791, University College Dublin.
- Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.
- Lisa M. Powell & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2011.
"Economic Contextual Factors and Child Body Mass Index,"
in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 127-144
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lisa M. Powell & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2009. "Economic Contextual Factors and Child Body Mass Index," NBER Working Papers 15046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Boizot-Szantai, Christine & Etile, Fabrice, 2005. "The Food Prices / Body Mass Index Relationship: Theory and Evidence from a Sample of French Adults," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24734, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
- Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2008. "What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain A decomposition approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-73, February.
- Paul Contoyannis & John Wildman, 2007. "Using relative distributions to investigate the body mass index in England and Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 929-944.
- Cash, Sean B. & Lacanilao, Ryan D., 2007. "Taxing Food to Improve Health: Economic Evidence and Arguments," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 36(2), October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kieron Jones).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.