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Experimental economics shows how food price policies may improve diet while increasing socioeconomic inequalities in nutrition

Author

Listed:
  • Darmon, N.
  • Lacroix, A.
  • Muller, L.
  • Ruffieux, B.

Abstract

The aime of this paper is to compare the impact of food price policies on the nutritional quality of food baskets chosen by low-income and medium-income women. Experimental economics was used to simulate a fruit and vegetable price subsidy (FV policy) and a mixed policy subsidizing healthy products and taxing unhealthy ones(NP policy)Low-income (n=95) and medium–income (n=33) women selected a daily food basket at current prices and then at policy prices. Energy density (ED) and the mean adequacy ratio (MAR) were used as nutritional quality indicators. At baseline, low-income women selected less healthy baskets than medium–income ones (less fruit and vegetables, more unhealthy products,higher ED, lower MAR). Both policies improved nutritional quality (fruit and vegetable quantities increased, ED decreased,the MAR increased), but the magnitude of the improvement was often lower among low income women. For instance, their ED decreased by 5.3% with the FV policy and by 7.3% with the NP policy, whereas decreases of 13.2% and 12.6% respectively were recorded for the medium–income group.

Suggested Citation

  • Darmon, N. & Lacroix, A. & Muller, L. & Ruffieux, B., 2011. "Experimental economics shows how food price policies may improve diet while increasing socioeconomic inequalities in nutrition," Working Papers 201104, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  • Handle: RePEc:gbl:wpaper:201104
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    File URL: https://gael.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/sites/gael/files/doc-recherche/WP/A2011/gael2011-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles a., 1993. "Experimental economics: Methods, problems and promise," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 8(2), pages 179-212.
    2. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821, April.
    3. Schroeter, Christiane & Lusk, Jayson & Tyner, Wallace, 2008. "Determining the impact of food price and income changes on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 45-68, January.
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    5. Nordström, Jonas & Thunström, Linda, 2009. "The impact of tax reforms designed to encourage healthier grain consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 622-634, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    FOOD PRICE; NUTRITION POLICY; PUBLIC POLICY; NUTRITION; NUTRITIONAL QUALITY; CONSUMER BEHAVIOR; SOCIOECONOMIC INEQUALITY;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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