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Should We Tax Sugar and If So How?


  • Peter Lloyd
  • Donald MacLaren


This article reviews empirical studies of proposals to tax sugary products in Australia. A corrective tax must be designed carefully if it is to increase national welfare. There is an underlying problem in designing such a tax because consumers are heterogeneous. The best choice of goods to be taxed is the group of sugar‐sweetened‐beverages, the best tax base is the sugar content and the best tax form is a progressive specific tax with two or more levels. We recommend initial rates that are equal to those of the UK tax on SSBs.

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  • Peter Lloyd & Donald MacLaren, 2019. "Should We Tax Sugar and If So How?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 52(1), pages 19-40, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:52:y:2019:i:1:p:19-40
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.12299

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harry Clarke, 2008. "The Economist’s Way of Thinking About Alcohol Policy," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 15(2), pages 27-44.
    2. Jonathan Pincus, 2018. "Grattan Institute's Case for Sugar Tax Is Not Proven," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 51(1), pages 41-51, March.
    3. Rachel Griffith & Martin O’Connell & Kate Smith, 2018. "Corrective Taxation and Internalities from Food Consumption," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 64(1), pages 1-14.
    4. John Freebairn, 2010. "Taxation and Obesity?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 43(1), pages 54-62, March.
    5. Anurag Sharma & Katharina Hauck & Bruce Hollingsworth & Luigi Siciliani, 2014. "The Effects Of Taxing Sugar‐Sweetened Beverages Across Different Income Groups," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(9), pages 1159-1184, September.
    6. Pogue, Thomas F & Sgontz, Larry G, 1989. "Taxing to Control Social Costs: The Case of Alcohol," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 235-243, March.
    7. Jou, Judy & Techakehakij, Win, 2012. "International application of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation in obesity reduction: Factors that may influence policy effectiveness in country-specific contexts," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 83-90.
    8. David R. Just & Gnel Gabrielyan, 2016. "Food and consumer behavior: why the details matter," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(S1), pages 73-83, November.
    9. Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2013. "Tax incidence with strategic firms in the soft drink market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 77-88.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zarko Kalamov & Marco Runkel, 2020. "Taxes on unhealthy food and externalities in the parental choice of children's diet," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(8), pages 938-944, August.

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