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The Price Of One Sweet Calorie

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  • Buttet, Sebastien
  • Dolar, Veronika

Abstract

We propose a new measure for food prices to further examine the impact of changes in food prices and real income on individuals’ eating decisions and weight. We calculate price per calorie for food consumed away from home and food consumed at home as the dollar amount spent by households on each food category divided by the number of calories consumed. We use our newly constructed time series for price per calorie as an input into a neoclassical model of eating decisions and weight. Our goal is to propose a quantitative explanation for the increase in calories consumed away from home as well as changes in weight for men and women 1971 and 2006. We find that prices determine the allocation of calories across food types, while income determines the total number of calories consumed and thus individuals' weight. Based on our results, we share the view that taxes on food will impact what people eat but will have limited effect on reducing the population body-mass index or the obesity prevalence.

Suggested Citation

  • Buttet, Sebastien & Dolar, Veronika, 4. "The Price Of One Sweet Calorie," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 3(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ijfaec:229189
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/229189
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Michael & Tekin, Erdal & Wada, Roy, 2014. "Food prices and body fatness among youths," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 4-19.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:2:246-249_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-188, January.
    4. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    5. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2011. "Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Beydoun, May A. & Powell, Lisa M. & Wang, Youfa, 2008. "The association of fast food, fruit and vegetable prices with dietary intakes among US adults: Is there modification by family income?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2218-2229, June.
    8. Christian, Thomas & Rashad, Inas, 2009. "Trends in U.S. food prices, 1950-2007," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 113-120, March.
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