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Taxation of unhealthy consumption of food and drinks: An updated literature review

Listed author(s):
  • Joan Gil

    ()

    (Universidad de Barcelona)

  • Guillem López Casasnovas

    ()

    (Universidad Pompeu Fabra)

  • Toni Mora

    ()

    (Universitat International de Catalunya)

By means of a literature review this paper aims at shedding more light on the potentialities of unhealthy food/drink taxation in changing eating patterns and life styles and hence combating the obesity epidemic. One remarkable point that emerges when assessing the set of selected papers is the existence of a wide diversity of objectives, methodologies, settings and datasets, policies implemented and results achieved by all these studies, which undoubtedly adds complexity to any attempt to draw a general conclusion on fast food taxation. Most of the examined studies predict a rather modest fiscal impact on unhealthy food and drinks consumption and/or nutrition intake and consequently a poor result on weight loss and obesity, by the interplay of several factors among them the effects of cross-price elasticities.

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Article provided by IEF in its journal Hacienda Pública Española/Review of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 207 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 119-140

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Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2013:v:207:i:4:p:119-140
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  1. Cuffe, H.E. & Harbaugh, W.T. & Lindo, J.M. & Musto, G. & Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Evidence on the efficacy of school-based incentives for healthy living," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1028-1036.
  2. Jay Bhattacharya & Neeraj Sood, 2011. "Who Pays for Obesity?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 139-158, Winter.
  3. Fletcher, Jason M. & Frisvold, David E. & Tefft, Nathan, 2010. "The effects of soft drink taxes on child and adolescent consumption and weight outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 967-974, December.
  4. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2008. "What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain A decomposition approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-73, February.
  5. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  6. Florence Jusot & Sandy Tubeuf & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Circumstances And Efforts: How Important Is Their Correlation For The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity In Health?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(12), pages 1470-1495, December.
  7. Jensen, Jørgen Dejgård & Smed, Sinne, 2013. "The Danish tax on saturated fat – Short run effects on consumption, substitution patterns and consumer prices of fats," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 18-31.
  8. 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.
  9. Roy Bahl & Richard Bird & Mary Beth Walker, 2003. "The Uneasy Case Against Discriminatory Excise Taxation: Soft Drink Taxes in Ireland," Public Finance Review, , vol. 31(5), pages 510-533, September.
  10. Cash, Sean B. & Lacanilao, Ryan D., 2007. "Taxing Food to Improve Health: Economic Evidence and Arguments," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 174-182, October.
  11. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Smith, Travis A. & Lee, Jonq-Ying & Hall, Kevin D., 2011. "Measuring weight outcomes for obesity intervention strategies: The case of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 329-341.
  12. Cawley, John (ed.), 2011. "The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199736362.
  13. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2013. "Accounting For Product Substitution In The Analysis Of Food Taxes Targeting Obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(11), pages 1318-1343, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Olivier Allais & Patrice Bertail & Véronique Nichèle, 2010. "The Effects of a Fat Tax on French Households' Purchases: A Nutritional Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(1), pages 228-245.
  16. Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry & Bishai, David, 2005. "Are time preference and body mass index associated?: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 259-270, July.
  17. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," Working Papers 9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  18. Powell, Lisa M., 2009. "Fast food costs and adolescent body mass index: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 963-970, September.
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  20. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5065 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Fred Kuchler & Abebayehu Tegene & J. Michael Harris, 2005. "Taxing Snack Foods: Manipulating Diet Quality or Financing Information Programs?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 4-20.
  22. 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.
  23. 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).
  24. Senarath Dharmasena & Oral Capps JR, 2012. "Intended and unintended consequences of a proposed national tax on sugar‐sweetened beverages to combat the U.S. obesity problem," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 669-694, June.
  25. Chouinard Hayley H & Davis David E & LaFrance Jeffrey T & Perloff Jeffrey M, 2007. "Fat Taxes: Big Money for Small Change," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-30, June.
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