IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Effect of Prices on Nutrition: Comparing the Impact of Product- and Nutrient-Specific Taxes

Listed author(s):
  • Matthew Harding
  • Michael Lovenheim

This paper provides an analysis of the role of prices in determining food purchases and nutrition using very detailed transaction-level observations for a large, nationally-representative sample of US consumers over the period 2002-2007. Using product- specific nutritional information, we develop a new method of partitioning the product space into relevant nutritional clusters that define a set of nutritionally-bundled goods, which parsimoniously characterize consumer choice sets. We then estimate a large utility-derived demand system over this joint product-nutrient space that allows us to calculate price and expenditure elasticities. Using our structural demand estimates, we simulate the role of product taxes on soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, packaged meals, and snacks, and nutrient taxes on fat, salt, and sugar. We find that a 20% nutrient tax has a significantly larger impact on nutrition than an equivalent product tax, due to the fact that these are broader-based taxes. However, the costs of these taxes in terms of consumer utility are not higher. A sugar tax in particular is a powerful tool to induce healthier nutritive bundles among consumers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19781.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19781.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Publication status: published as Harding, Matthew & Lovenheim, Michael, 2017. "The effect of prices on nutrition: Comparing the impact of product- and nutrient-specific taxes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 53-71.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19781
Note: HE PE
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Slemrod, Joel & Kopczuk, Wojciech, 2002. "The optimal elasticity of taxable income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 91-112, April.
  3. Chen Zhen & Michael K. Wohlgenant & Shawn Karns & Phillip Kaufman, 2010. "Habit Formation and Demand for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(1), pages 175-193.
  4. Sébastien Lecocq & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Estimating Demand Response with Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 1043-1060, November.
  5. André Decoster & Frederic Vermeulen, "undated". "Evaluation of the Empirical Performance of Two-Stage Budgeting AIDS, QUAIDS and Rotterdam Models Based on Weak Separability," Working Papers Department of Economics ces9807, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Matthew Harding & Ephraim Leibtag & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2012. "The Heterogeneous Geographic and Socioeconomic Incidence of Cigarette Taxes: Evidence from Nielsen Homescan Data," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 169-198, November.
  7. Jerry Hausman & Gregory Leonard & J. Douglas Zona, 1994. "Competitive Analysis with Differentiated Products," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 34, pages 143-157.
  8. repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
  10. Campbell, John Y. & Cocco, Joao F., 2007. "How do house prices affect consumption? Evidence from micro data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 591-621, April.
  11. Pierre Dubois & Rachel Griffith & Aviv Nevo, 2014. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 832-867, March.
  12. Lovenheim, Michael F., 2008. "How Far to the Border?: The Extent and Impact of Cross-Border Casual Cigarette Smuggling," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 7-33, March.
  13. Aviv Nevo, 2003. "New Products, Quality Changes, and Welfare Measures Computed from Estimated Demand Systems," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 266-275, May.
  14. Steven T. Yen & Biing-Hwan Lin & David M. Smallwood & Margaret Andrews, 2004. "Demand for nonalcoholic beverages: The case of low-income households," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 309-321.
  15. Rachel Griffith & Lars Nesheim & Martin O'Connell, 2010. "Sin taxes in differentiated product oligopoly: an application to the butter and margarine market," CeMMAP working papers CWP37/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
  17. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
  18. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Smith, Travis A. & Lee, Jonq-Ying & Hall, Kevin D., 2011. "Measuring weight outcomes for obesity intervention strategies: The case of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 329-341.
  19. Austan Goolsbee & Michael F. Lovenheim & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Playing with Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes, and Competition from the Internet," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 131-154, February.
  20. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Life-Cycle Prices and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1533-1559, December.
  21. Burda, Martin & Harding, Matthew & Hausman, Jerry, 2012. "A Poisson mixture model of discrete choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(2), pages 184-203.
  22. Liran Einav & Ephraim Leibtag & Aviv Nevo, 2010. "Recording discrepancies in Nielsen Homescan data: Are they present and do they matter?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 207-239, June.
  23. 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.
  24. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 157-178, June.
  25. Orazio P. Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2009. "Booms and Busts: Consumption, House Prices and Expectations," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 20-50, 02.
  26. Blundell, Richard & Robin, Jean Marc, 1999. "Estimation in Large and Disaggregated Demand Systems: An Estimator for Conditionally Linear Systems," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 209-232, May-June.
  27. Donald S. Kenkel, 2005. "Are Alcohol Tax Hikes Fully Passed Through to Prices? Evidence from Alaska," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 273-277, May.
  28. Jason M. Fletcher & David Frisvold & Nathan Tefft, 2010. "Can Soft Drink Taxes Reduce Population Weight?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 23-35, 01.
  29. 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.
  30. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2013. "Deconstructing Life Cycle Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(3), pages 437-492.
  31. Todd, Jessica E. & Mancino, Lisa & Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Tripodo, Christina, 2010. "Methodology Behind Quarterly Food- at- Home Price Database," Technical Bulletins 184309, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  32. Douglas J. Besharov & Marianne Bitler & Steven J. Haider, 2011. "An economic view of food deserts in the united states," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 153-176, December.
  33. Baughman, Reagan & Conlin, Michael & Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Pepper, John, 2001. "Slippery when wet: the effects of local alcohol access laws on highway safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1089-1096, November.
  34. 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.
  35. Finkelstein, Eric A. & Zhen, Chen & Bilger, Marcel & Nonnemaker, James & Farooqui, Assad M. & Todd, Jessica E., 2013. "Implications of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax when substitutions to non-beverage items are considered," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 219-239.
  36. Senarath Dharmasena & Oral Capps JR, 2012. "Intended and unintended consequences of a proposed national tax on sugar‐sweetened beverages to combat the U.S. obesity problem," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 669-694, June.
  37. Lovenheim, Michael F. & Slemrod, Joel, 2010. "The fatal toll of driving to drink: The effect of minimum legal drinking age evasion on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 62-77, January.
  38. Todd, Jessica E. & Mancino, Lisa & Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Tripodo, Christina, 2010. "Methodology Behind the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database," Technical Bulletins 97799, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19781. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.