IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tse/wpaper/29615.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Earmarking and the political support of fat taxes

Author

Listed:
  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Goulão, Catarina
  • Roeder, Kerstin

Abstract

A fat and a healthy good provide immediate gratification, and cause health costs or benefits in the long run, which are misperceived. Additionally, the fat good (healthy good) increases (decreases) health care costs by increasing (decreasing) the probability of suffering from a chronic disease in the future. Individuals differ in income and in their degree of misperceptions concerning the health effects of the consumption of fat and of healthy goods. The level of the fat tax is determined through majority voting. Individuals vote according to their misperceived utility function. Consequently, excessive fat consumption is not due to a self-control problem but due to information deficiencies or cognitive inability to process information. A fraction of the fat tax proceeds is “earmarked” to reduce health insurance premiums while the remaining fraction finances a subsidy on the healthy good. This earmarking rule is determined at a constitutional stage to maximize utilitarian or Rawlsian welfare, anticipating the induced political equilibrium. We show that the fat tax in the political equilibrium is always lower than the utilitarian fat tax. This is no longer necessarily true with a Rawlsian objective. The determination of the optimal earmarking rule is quite complex. Even in the utilitarian case, it is not just used to boost political support for the fat tax. Instead, it may involve a tradeoff between the fat tax and the healthy good subsidy.

Suggested Citation

  • Cremer, Helmuth & Goulão, Catarina & Roeder, Kerstin, 2015. "Earmarking and the political support of fat taxes," TSE Working Papers 15-595, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:29615
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tse-fr.eu/sites/default/files/TSE/documents/doc/wp/2015/wp_tse_595.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy K.M. Beatty & Jeffrey T. LaFrance, 2005. "United States Demand for Food and Nutrition in the Twentieth Century," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1159-1166.
    2. Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell, 2010. "Public Policy towards Food Consumption," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 481-507, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2007.131367_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
    7. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Darío Maldonado & Pierre Pestieau, 2012. "Taxing Sin Goods and Subsidizing Health Care," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 101-123, March.
    8. Céline Bonnet & Pierre Dubois & Valérie Orozco, 2014. "Household food consumption, individual caloric intake and obesity in France," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 1143-1166, May.
    9. Marion Devaux & Franco Sassi & Jody Church & Michele Cecchini & Francesca Borgonovi, 2011. "Exploring the Relationship Between Education and Obesity," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(1), pages 1-40.
    10. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
    11. Kotakorpi, Kaisa, 2008. "The incidence of sin taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 95-99, January.
    12. Haavio, Markus & Kotakorpi, Kaisa, 2011. "The political economy of sin taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 575-594, May.
    13. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Firouz Gahvari, 2004. "Political Sustainability and the Design of Environmental Taxes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(6), pages 703-719, November.
    14. 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.
    15. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
    16. Huang, Kuo S. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2000. "Estimation of Food Demand Nutrient Elasticities from household Survey Data," Technical Bulletins 184370, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    17. Huang, Kuo S. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2000. "Estimation Of Food Demand And Nutrient Elasticities From Household Survey Data," Technical Bulletins 33579, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    18. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
    19. Casamatta, Georges & Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 341-364, March.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. Guthrie, Joanne F. & Andrews, Margaret S. & Frazao, Elizabeth & Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Lin, Biing-Hwan & Mancino, Lisa & Nord, Mark & Prell, Mark A. & Smallwood, David M. & Variyam, Jayachandran N. & V, 2007. "Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective," Economic Information Bulletin 59417, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zarko Kalamov & Marco Runkel, 2018. "Paternalistic Taxation of Unhealthy Food and the Intensive versus Extensive Margin of Obesity," CESifo Working Paper Series 6911, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Fat tax; Misperception; Voting; Earmarking;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:29615. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/tsetofr.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.