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Mandatory labels, taxes and market forces: An empirical evaluation of fat policies

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  • Allais, Olivier
  • Etilé, Fabrice
  • Lecocq, Sébastien

Abstract

The public-health community views mandatory Front-of-Pack (FOP) nutrition labels and nutritional taxes as promising tools to control the growth of food-related chronic diseases. This paper uses household scanner data to propose an ex-ante evaluation and comparison of these two policy options for the fromage blanc and dessert yogurt market. In most markets, labelling is voluntary and firms display fat labels only on the FOP of low-fat products to target consumers who do not want to eat fat. We here separately identify consumer preferences for fat and for FOP fat labels by exploiting an exogenous difference in legal labelling requirements between these two product categories. Estimates of demand curves are combined with a supply model of oligopolistic price competition to simulate policies. We find that a feasible ad valorem fat tax dominates a mandatory FOP-label policy from an economic perspective, but both are equally effective in reducing average fat purchases.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:43:y:2015:i:c:p:27-44
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.06.003
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    2. Alberto Gago & Xavier Labandeira & Xiral López Otero, 2014. "A Panorama on Energy Taxes and Green Tax Reforms," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 145-190, March.
    3. Chen Zhen & Mary Muth & Abigail Okrent & Shawn Karns & Derick Brown & Peter Siegel, 2019. "Do differences in reported expenditures between household scanner data and expenditure surveys matter in health policy research?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 782-800, June.
    4. Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges & Zang, Yu, 2016. "Quality standards versus nutritional taxes: Health and welfare impacts with strategic firms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 268-285.
    5. Anurag Sharma & Fabrice Etilé & Kompal Sinha, 2016. "The Effect of Introducing a Minimum Price on the Distribution of Alcohol Purchase: A Counterfactual Analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1182-1200, September.
    6. Juan Carlos Caro & Pourya Valizadeh & Alejandrina Correa & Andres Silva & Shu Wen Ng, 2020. "Combined fiscal policies to promote healthier diets: Effects on purchases and consumer welfare," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, January.
    7. Allais, Oliver & Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent & Spiteri, Marine, 2020. "Reformulation and taxes for healthier consumption: Empirical evidence in the French Dessert market," TSE Working Papers 20-1082, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. Alberto Pench, 0. "Time Allocation and Snacks and Sugar Sweetened Beverages Taxation," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    9. Bonnet, Céline & Richards, Timothy J., 2016. "Models of Consumer Demand for Differentiated Products," TSE Working Papers 16-741, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    10. Fichera, Eleonora & von Hinke, Stephanie, 2020. "The response to nutritional labels: Evidence from a quasi-experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    11. Salgado, Juan Carlos & Ng, Shu Wen, 2019. "Understanding heterogeneity in price changes and firm responses to a national unhealthy food tax in Mexico," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    12. Alberto Pench, 2020. "Time Allocation and Snacks and Sugar Sweetened Beverages Taxation," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 6(3), pages 469-492, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mandatory fat-content label; Ad valorem tax; Quasi-natural experiment; Firm strategic pricing; Differentiated products;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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