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Testing an Information Intervention: Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Jamie Oliver on Fizzy Drinks Demand


  • John Gibson

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Steven Tucker

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Geua Boe-Gibson

    () (University of Waikato)


We conducted a salient purchasing experiment to test if an information intervention alters fizzy drinks demand. Subjects in our experiment initially made five rounds of purchases, for 14 items (energy drinks, colas, and lemonades) selected from a stratified sample of retailers. Subjects faced seven pricing environments, reflecting baseline prices, two ad valorem taxes, two specific taxes, and ad valorem and specific price cuts to reflect retailer discounting. Subjects then watched a video presentation by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, which highlighted adverse health effects of sugary drinks. The five rounds of choices were then repeated, to generate within-subject before and after demands that show an overall 25 percent reduction in purchases due to the information intervention. Demand for one sugar-free option, Diet Coke, rose 36 percent after the intervention. The impacts under baseline prices were little different to those seen in conjunction with tax-induced price rises. Effects of the information intervention were larger for females, for the young, for the less educated, for those usually spending more on soft drinks, and for those who usually ignore sugar content when making purchases.

Suggested Citation

  • John Gibson & Steven Tucker & Geua Boe-Gibson, 2019. "Testing an Information Intervention: Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Jamie Oliver on Fizzy Drinks Demand," Working Papers in Economics 19/08, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:19/08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nadia A. Streletskaya & Pimbucha Rusmevichientong & Wansopin Amatyakul & Harry M. Kaiser, 2014. "Taxes, Subsidies, and Advertising Efficacy in Changing Eating Behavior: An Experimental Study," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 146-174.
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    More about this item


    experiment; health; information; Jamie Oliver; soda taxes; sugar;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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