Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy
In an effort to reduce the growing prevalence of obesity, a tax on junk-foods, known as 'fat tax', has been proposed, the revenue from which could be used to finance a 'thin subsidy' for healthy foods or exercising equipment. The present paper addresses the fat tax and thin subsidy within a food-intake rational-choice model. Assuming that healthy meals are cooked at home with purchased ingredients and time input, the paper examines the effects on obesity of a tax on junk-food meals and a subsidy to cooking ingredients, distinguishing between a weight-conscious and a non-weight conscious individual, and between a weight-conscious individual who is physically active and physically inactive. The results show that for a non-weight conscious individual a fat tax will unambiguously reduce obesity, whereas a thin subsidy may increase obesity. However, for a weight-conscious individual, particularly one who is physically active, even a fat tax may increase obesity, as it may reduce not just the consumption of junk-food, but also the time devoted to physical activity. The paper explores conditions under which obesity will rise, fall, or remain intact following the introduction of a fat tax or a thin subsidy.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2005.
"The Obesity Epidemic in Europe,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Robert Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Steven Suranovic, 2006.
"Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting,"
Eastern Economic Journal,
Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 115-131, Winter.
- 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.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cash, Sean B. & Sunding, David L. & Zilberman, David, 2004. "Fat Taxes And Thin Subsidies: Prices, Diet, And Health Outcomes," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19961, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
- Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2005.
"The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults,"
NBER Working Papers
11584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
- Yaniv, Gideon, 2002. "Non-adherence to a low-fat diet: an economic perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 93-104, May.
- Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999.
"The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change,"
9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 7423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rajeev Goel, 2006. "Obesity: An economic and financial perspective," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 30(3), pages 317-324, September.
- Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
- Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
- Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
- Levy, Amnon, 2003. "A Theory of LTR Junk-food Consumption," Economics Working Papers wp03-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
- Steven M. Suranovic & Robert S. Goldfarb, 2005. "A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting," HEW 0511002, EconWPA.
- Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
- Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, 09.
- Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf, 2005. "The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kinsey, Jean D. & Mancino, Lisa, 2004. "Diet Quality And Calories Consumed: The Impact Of Being Hungrier, Busier And Eating Out," Working Papers 14324, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:5-6:p:823-830. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.