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Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico

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  • Osea Giuntella
  • Matthias Rieger
  • Lorenzo Rotunno

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the effects of trade in foods on obesity in Mexico. To do so, we match data on Mexican food imports from the U.S. with anthropometric and food expenditure data. Our findings suggest that exposure to food imports from the U.S. explains about ten percent of the rise in obesity prevalence among Mexican women between 1988 and 2012. Pro-obesity effects are driven by areas more exposed to unhealthy food imports. We also find evidence in favour of a price mechanism. By linking trade flows to obesity, the paper sheds light on an important channel through which globalisation may affect health.

Suggested Citation

  • Osea Giuntella & Matthias Rieger & Lorenzo Rotunno, 2018. "Weight gains from trade in foods: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 24942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24942
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    3. Duncan, Roberto & Toledo, Patricia, 2019. "Inequality in body mass indices across countries: Evidence from convergence tests," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 40-57.
    4. Colantone, Italo & Crinò, Rosario & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Globalization and mental distress," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 181-207.
    5. Mathieu-Bolh, Nathalie & Wendner, Ronald, 2020. "We are what we eat: Obesity, income, and social comparisons," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    6. Yu-Chun Lin & Yu-Hung Chang & Huang-Ting Yan, 2020. "Is trade a blessing or a curse? A panel data analysis of the determinants of depressive disorders," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 65(7), pages 1113-1121, September.
    7. Mecheva, Margarita de Vries & Rieger, Matthias & Sparrow, Robert & Prafiantini, Erfi & Agustina, Rina, 2021. "Snacks, nudges and asymmetric peer influence: Evidence from food choice experiments with children in Indonesia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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