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.
Published: June 2014
ID #: 66971
Journal: Amer J Agr Econ
Authors: Zhen C, Brissette IF, Ruff RR
Evaluating the impact of state-level economic-support policies on the nutritional health of kids and familiesTo address ongoing concerns of child poverty across the United States, states have introduced and modified family economic security policies related to the state minimum wage (MW) and state earned income tax credit (EITC). While poor nutritional health disproportionately impacts children who experience poverty, few studies have examined the potentially beneficial effects of state-level MW More