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

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.grenoble.inra.fr/Docs/pub/A2011/gael2011-05.pdf
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Paper provided by Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL) in its series Working Papers with number 201104.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:gbl:wpaper:201104
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  1. 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.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521456821 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Charles Noussair & StÈphane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2004. "Do Consumers Really Refuse To Buy Genetically Modified Food?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 102-120, 01.
  9. 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.
  10. Smed, Sinne & Jensen, Jorgen D. & Denver, Sigrid, 2007. "Socio-economic characteristics and the effect of taxation as a health policy instrument," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 624-639.
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