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The Food Prices / Body Mass Index Relationship: Theory and Evidence from a Sample of French Adults


  • Boizot-Szantai, Christine
  • Etile, Fabrice


What would be the effect of a "fat tax" on obesity? This paper shows that the sign of the price-weight correlation is unclear, as variations of food price have a direct effect on weight through changes in energy intakes, and an indirect (income) effect that affects energy expenditure. Food expenditures data are used to examine the link between the prices of 16 food groups and the distribution of the Body Mass Index among French adults. We find positive correlations for ready-meals and snacks, and negative correlations for sea products and fruits. It is thus unlikely that the epidemic of obesity will react in the short-term to nutritional taxes.

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  • Boizot-Szantai, Christine & Etile, Fabrice, 2005. "The Food Prices / Body Mass Index Relationship: Theory and Evidence from a Sample of French Adults," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24734, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae05:24734

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cash, Sean B. & Lacanilao, Ryan D. & Adamowicz, Wiktor L. & Raine, Kim, 2008. "An Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Fat Taxes: Prices Effects, Food Stigma, and Information Effects on Economics Instruments to Improve Dietary Health," Consumer and Market Demand Network Papers 45499, University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.
    2. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2012. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax Or Final Consumption Tax?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 344-361, July.
    3. Cash, Sean B. & Lacanilao, Ryan D., 2007. "Taxing Food to Improve Health: Economic Evidence and Arguments," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 36(2), October.
    4. Bradbear, Catherine & Friel, Sharon, 2013. "Integrating climate change, food prices and population health," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-66.

    More about this item


    obesity; fat tax; price policies; quantitle regressions; Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; D1; H3; I1;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health


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