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Obesity and Price Sensitivity at the Supermarket

  • Gandal, Neil
  • Shabelansky, Anastasia

In this paper, we employ a rich data set at the individual level in order to examine which factors are most highly correlated with obesity. Our main result is that, even after controlling for income levels and other factors, we find that high 'price-sensitivity' for food products is associated with high obesity rates. We find that a woman who stated that prices were 'not important at all' when purchasing food products had a Body Mass Index (BMI) that was 1.3 units below those who stated that price was 'very important.' This suggests that the price effect is not trivial and obesity is a problem that is not limited to those with low income levels. A 1.3 unit reduction in the BMI would move approximately 28% of women who are in the 'overweight' category to the 'normal weight' category and 25% of women who are in the 'obese' category to the 'overweight' category.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7443.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7443
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  1. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles L. Baum II & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2007. "Age, Socioeconomic Status and Obesity Growth," NBER Working Papers 13289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
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