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Economic Policies for Healthier Food Intake: The Impact on Different Household Categories

This paper simulates the impact across household types of fully funded tax reforms designed to increase consumers’ fiber intake from grain consumption. Our results suggest that household types with the highest initial consumption share of fiber-rich products – i.e., households without children (seniors, couples without children, and single women without children) – experience the highest increase in fiber intake from these reforms. However, they also experience high increases in unhealthy nutrients from the reforms, making the net health effects difficult to evaluate. Seniors and couples without children also gain the most financially, paying less food taxes and facing, depending on the reform, either a lower price level than before the reform or a lower increase in the price level than the average household. These household types also face the lowest initial price level. Households with the lowest initial consumption share of fiber-rich products – families with children – appear to gain the least financially from the reforms: they pay more food taxes and face relatively high increases in price levels. Further, in general they experience an increase in fiber intake smaller than the average household. However, they do generally see reductions in the intake of added sugar, and in many cases saturated fat, which positively affects the health of families with children, who often overconsume these nutrients.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009:14.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 16 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Nordström, Jonas and Linda Thunström, 'Economic Policies for Healthier Food Intake: The Impact on Different Household Categories' in European Journal of Health Economics, 2011, pages 127-140.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2009_014
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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  1. Leung, Siu Fai & Yu, Shihti, 1996. "On the choice between sample selection and two-part models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 197-229.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
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  6. Nordström, Jonas & Thunström, Linda, 2009. "The Impact on Different Household Types of Economic Policies Designed to Increase the Fiber Intake from Grain Consumption," HUI Working Papers 22, HUI Research.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
  8. Nordström, Jonas & Thunström, Linda, 2007. "The Impact of Tax Reforms Designed to Encourage a Healthier Grain Consumption," HUI Working Papers 11, HUI Research.
  9. 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.
  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.
  11. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  12. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1974. "Multivariate Regression and Simultaneous Equation Models when the Dependent Variables Are Truncated Normal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(6), pages 999-1012, November.
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