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Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?


  • Miao, Zhen
  • Beghin, John C.
  • Jensen, Helen H.


In order to reduce obesity and associated costs, policymakers are considering various policies, including taxes, to change consumers' high-calorie consumption habits. We investigate two tax policies aimed at reducing added sweetener consumption. Both a consumption tax on sweet goods and a sweetener input tax can reach the same policy target of reducing added sweetener consumption. Both tax instruments are regressive, but the associated surplus losses are limited. The tax on sweetener inputs targets sweeteners directly and causes about five times less surplus loss than the final consumption tax. Previous analyses have overlooked this important point.

Suggested Citation

  • Miao, Zhen & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2010. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax or Final Consumption Tax?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 31969, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:31969

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    Cited by:

    1. Abigail M. Okrent & Julian M. Alston, 2012. "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(3), pages 611-646.
    2. John C. Beghin & Amani Elobeid, 2015. "The Impact of the U.S. Sugar Program Redux," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 1-33.
    3. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2013. "Accounting For Product Substitution In The Analysis Of Food Taxes Targeting Obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(11), pages 1318-1343, November.
    4. Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2013. "Tax incidence with strategic firms in the soft drink market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 77-88.
    5. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Tefft, Nathan, 2014. "Macronutrients and obesity: Revisiting the calories in, calories out framework," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 33-49.
    6. Lakkakula, Prithviraj & Schmitz, Andrew & Ripplinger, David, 2016. "U.S. Sweetener Demand Analysis: A QUAIDS Model Application," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 41(3), September.
    7. Balagtas, Joseph V. & Nuno-Ledesma, Jose G. & Wu, Steven Y., 2016. "Effects of “Fat Taxes” on Package Sizes, and Welfare Distribution," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 252704, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Bonnet, Céline & Réquillart, Vincent, 2011. "Strategic Pricing and Health Price Policies," IDEI Working Papers 671, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jul 2012.
    9. Chen, Xiu & Kaiser, Harry M. & Rickard, Bradley J., 2015. "The impacts of inclusive and exclusive taxes on healthy eating: An experimental study," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 13-24.

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    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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