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A Sales Tax Is Better at Promoting Healthy Diets than the Fat Tax and the Thin Subsidy

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  • Kalamov, Zarko Y.

Abstract

Rising prevalence of obesity among adults and children is a major policy issue in many countries. Two widely discussed instruments to address obesity are a tax on unhealthy foods (fat tax) and a subsidy on healthy foods (thin subsidy). We compare these two policies to a sales tax on all food products, taking into account the different opportunity costs in terms of time for healthy and unhealthy meals. We show that the policy which reduces obesity under the most general conditions is the sales tax without the fat tax and the thin subsidy. Moreover, this policy is the only one which unambiguously stimulates healthy consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalamov, Zarko Y., 2016. "A Sales Tax Is Better at Promoting Healthy Diets than the Fat Tax and the Thin Subsidy," EconStor Preprints 148007, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:148007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    fat tax; thin subsidy; sales tax; obesity;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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