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The Poverty Effects of a "Fat-Tax" in Ireland

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  • Madden, D.;

Abstract

To combat growing levels of obesity, health related taxes have been suggested with taxes on foods high in fat or sugar. Such taxes have been criticised on the basis of their regressivity and potentially adverse impact upon poverty. This paper analyses the effect of such taxes on a range of poverty measures and also examines the effect of a revenue-neutral tax subsidy mix with a tax on unhealthy food combined with a subsidy on more healthy food. Using Irish expenditure data, the results indicate that taxes on high fat/sugar goods on their own will be regressive but that a tax-subsidy combination can be broadly neutral with respect to poverty.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 13/07.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:13/07

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Keywords: Poverty efficiency; consumption dominance;

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  1. Besley, Timothy J & Kanbur, S M Ravi, 1988. "Food Subsidies and Poverty Alleviation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(392), pages 701-19, September.
  2. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1994. "Tax reform and welfare measurement: do we need demand system estimation?," IFS Working Papers W94/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  6. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  7. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan, 1998. "Kernel Regression in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 62-87.
  8. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Slemrod, Joel, 1991. "Welfare Dominance: An Application to Commodity Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 480-96, June.
  9. Garry Barrett & Thomas Crossley & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Consumption and Income Inequality in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 404, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Koen Decancq & Tim Goedemé & Karel Van den Bosch & Josefine Vanhille, 2013. "The Evolution of Poverty in the European Union: Concepts, Measurement and Data," ImPRovE Working Papers 13/01, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  11. Madden, D. & Smith, F., 2000. "Poverty in Ireland, 1987-1994: a Stochastic Dominance Approach," Papers 00/13, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  12. Anna Sanz De Galdeano, 2005. "The Obesity Epidemic in Europe," CSEF Working Papers 143, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  13. 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.
  14. Ahmad, Ehtisham & Stern, Nicholas, 1984. "The theory of reform and indian indirect taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 259-298, December.
  15. David Madden, 1999. "Relative or Absolute Poverty Lines - A New Approach," Working Papers 199909, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  16. Makdissi, Paul & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Consumption dominance curves: testing for the impact of indirect tax reforms on poverty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 227-235, April.
  17. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Thirsk, Wayne, 1990. "Welfare dominance and the design of excise taxation in the Cote d'ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-18, July.
  18. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-97, June.
  19. Madden, David, 1996. "Marginal Tax Reform and the Specification of Consumer Demand Systems," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 556-67, October.
  20. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Makdissi, Paul & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Socially-Efficient Tax Reforms," Cahiers de recherche 0201, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  21. Mayshar, Joram & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1995. "Dalton-Improving Indirect Tax Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 793-807, September.
  22. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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