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Information, Choice, and Obesity: Measuring the Impact of the New York City Calorie Labeling Mandate on Obesity

Author

Listed:
  • Rodrigo Aranda Balcazar

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Michael Darden

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Donald Rose

    () (School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University)

Abstract

The New York City Calorie Labeling Mandate of 2008 required fast food restaurants to post calorie information for all standardized items. We estimate the impact of the mandate on the rate of obesity using data from the Selected Metropolitan/Metropolitan Area Risk Trends of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (SMART-BRFSS) from 2004 to 2010. We show that the mandate plausibly reduced the obesity rate by 2.5 percentage points - a 12% decline. Our results are robust to a variety of sensitivity checks and strengthened by various placebo tests. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the American Time Use Survey, we show that our obesity result was not driven by changes in fast food frequency or expenditure but may have been driven by a large increase in the extensive margin of physical activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrigo Aranda Balcazar & Michael Darden & Donald Rose, 2016. "Information, Choice, and Obesity: Measuring the Impact of the New York City Calorie Labeling Mandate on Obesity," Working Papers 1611, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1611
    as

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    File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1611.pdf
    File Function: First Version, August 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ehsan Latif, 2014. "The Impact Of Macroeconomic Conditions On Obesity In Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 751-759, June.
    2. Emily Yucai Wang, 2015. "The impact of soda taxes on consumer welfare: implications of storability and taste heterogeneity," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 409-441, June.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2010.191908_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information Asymmetry; Obesity; Calorie Labeling;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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