From Coke to Coors: A Field Study of a Fat Tax and its Unintended Consequences
Wansink, Brian, et al. "From Coke to Coors: a field study of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax and its unintended consequences." Available at SSRN 2079840 (2012).
45 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 29, 2014
Could taxation of calorie-dense foods such as soft drinks be used to reduce obesity? To address this question, a six-month field experiment was conducted in an American city of 62,000 where half of the 113 households recruited into the study faced a 10% tax on calorie-dense foods and beverages and half did not. The tax resulted in a short-term (1-month) decrease in soft drink purchases, but no decrease over a 3-month or 6-month period. Moreover, in beer-purchasing households, this tax led to increased purchases of beer. To behavior scholars, this underscores the importance of investigating unexpected substitutions. To public health officials and policy makers, this presents an important empirical result and more generally points toward wide ranging contributions that marketing scholarship can make in their decisions.
Keywords: fat tax, soda tax, behavioral economics, public policy, public health, soft drinks, substitution, compensation, unintended consequences, calorie-dense foods, obesity
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