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Implications of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax when substitutions to non-beverage items are considered

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  • Finkelstein, Eric A.
  • Zhen, Chen
  • Bilger, Marcel
  • Nonnemaker, James
  • Farooqui, Assad M.
  • Todd, Jessica E.

Abstract

Using the 2006 Homescan panel, we estimate the changes in energy, fat and sodium purchases resulting from a tax that increases the price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) by 20% and the effect of such a tax on body weight. In addition to substitutions that may arise with other beverages, we account for substitutions between SSBs and 12 major food categories. Our main findings are that the tax would result in a decrease in store-bought energy of 24.3kcal per day per person, which would translate into an average weight loss of 1.6 pounds during the first year and a cumulated weight loss of 2.9 pounds in the long run. We do not find evidence of substitution to sugary foods and show that complementary foods could contribute to decreasing energy purchases. Despite their significantly lower price elasticity, the tax has a similar effect on calories for the largest purchasers of SSBs.

Suggested Citation

  • Finkelstein, Eric A. & Zhen, Chen & Bilger, Marcel & Nonnemaker, James & Farooqui, Assad M. & Todd, Jessica E., 2013. "Implications of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax when substitutions to non-beverage items are considered," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 219-239.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:1:p:219-239
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.10.005
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    2. Allais, Olivier & Etilé, Fabrice & Lecocq, Sébastien, 2015. "Mandatory labels, taxes and market forces: An empirical evaluation of fat policies," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 27-44.
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    4. Harding, Matthew & Lovenheim, Michael, 2017. "The effect of prices on nutrition: Comparing the impact of product- and nutrient-specific taxes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 53-71.
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    6. Alberto Gago & Xavier Labandeira & Xiral López Otero, 2014. "A Panorama on Energy Taxes and Green Tax Reforms," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 145-190, March.
    7. Etilé, F.; & Lecocq, S.; & Boizot-Szantaï, C.;, 2018. "The Incidence of Soft-Drink Taxes on Consumer Prices and Welfare:Evidence from the French “Soda Taxâ€," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/13, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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    12. Renke Schmacker, 2016. "Eine Softdrinksteuer zur fiskalischen Konsumsteuerung," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 103, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Zhen, Chen & Brissette, Ian & Ruff, Ryan, 2013. "By Ounce or By Calorie: The Different Effects of Alternative Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Strategies," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150194, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Tefft, Nathan, 2014. "Macronutrients and obesity: Revisiting the calories in, calories out framework," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 33-49.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sugar-sweetened beverage tax; Obesity; Nutrient demand models; Instrumental variables;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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