This paper examines the differential effects that taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) by calories and by ounce have on beverage demand. Based on sales data from supermarkets across four New York state regions, researchers predict that a calorie-based SSB tax is more effective than an ounce-based tax because it achieves more calorie reduction with a smaller loss in consumer surplus. A 0.04 cent per-calorie tax on SSBs is predicted to reduce the consumption of beverage calories by 9.3 percent versus a reduction of 8.6 percent from a half-cent per-ounce tax. Applying this percentage to beverages purchased from a variety of retail outlets, and assuming consumer purchasing behavior remains consistent across all venues, a 0.04 cent per-calorie tax would reduce total per person consumption by about 5,800 calories annually, while a half-cent per-ounce tax would achieve less of a reduction. A calorie-based beverage tax cost an estimated $1.40 less in consumer surplus loss than an ounce-based tax, per 3,500 beverage calories reduced.
By Ounce or by Calorie: The Differential Effects of Alternative Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Strategies
Health advocates have increasingly argued for taxes on calorically sweetened beverages. However, there is little empirical research that evaluates the public health and fiscal impacts of such taxes while simultaneously accounting for consumers’ and suppliers’ likely changes in economic behavior in response to a targeted tax. The aim of this … More
Toddler drinks are a relatively new product category, typically offered by infant formula manufacturers and promoted as beneficial for young children ages 12 months and older. Marketing promotes these drinks as the “next step” after infant formula, using claims that imply unproven benefits for children’s nutrition and health. However, these drinks … More
Studying the impact of combining fiscal incentives and disincentives to improve healthy food purchases by low-income households with children
Using economic modeling, this study seeks to advance nutritional equity by identifying ways to lower economic barriers to healthy eating among low-income households with children. This study will identify mechanisms for directing unhealthy food and beverage tax revenues towards healthy incentives, particularly through existing federally-funded, but local and state-run programs … More