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How well targeted are soda taxes?

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  • Dubois, Pierre
  • Griffith, Rachel
  • O'Connell, Martin

Abstract

Soda taxes aim to reduce excessive sugar consumption. Policymakers highlight the young, particularly from poor backgrounds, and high sugar consumers as groups whose behavior they would most like to influence. There are also concerns about the policy being regressive. We assess who are most impacted by soda taxes. We estimate demand using micro longitudinal data covering on-the-go purchases, and exploit the panel dimension to estimate individual specific preferences. We relate these preferences and counterfactual predictions to individual characteristics and show that soda taxes are relatively effective at targeting the sugar intake of the young, are less successful at targeting the intake of those with high total dietary sugar, and are unlikely to be strongly regressive especially if consumers benefit from averted internalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Dubois, Pierre & Griffith, Rachel & O'Connell, Martin, 2017. "How well targeted are soda taxes?," TSE Working Papers 17-868, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Mar 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:32251
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    Cited by:

    1. Cawley, John & Frisvold, David & Hill, Anna & Jones, David, 2019. "The impact of the Philadelphia beverage tax on purchases and consumption by adults and children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    2. Victor Chernozhukov & Jerry Hausman & Whitney K. Newey, 2019. "Demand analysis with many prices," CeMMAP working papers CWP59/19, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Blake, Miranda R. & Lancsar, Emily & Peeters, Anna & Backholer, Kathryn, 2019. "Sugar-sweetened beverage price elasticities in a hypothetical convenience store," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 225(C), pages 98-107.
    4. Gomo, Charity & Birg, Laura, 2018. "The economic and health impact of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in South Africa," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 356, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Valerio Serse, 2019. "Do Sugar Taxes affect the right consumers?," 2019 Papers pse633, Job Market Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    preference heterogeneity; discrete choice demand; pass-through; soda tax;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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