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  

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Andrew Hanks

The Ohio State University

John Cawley

Cornell University - College of Human Ecology, Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); Cornell University - College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics; The University of Sydney - School of Economics; National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) - J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics; NBER; IZA

David R. Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Date Written: July 29, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Hanks, Andrew and Cawley, John and Just, David R., From Coke to Coors: A Field Study of a Fat Tax and its Unintended Consequences (July 29, 2014). 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).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473623

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Andrew Hanks

The Ohio State University ( email )

130A Campbell Hall
1787 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

John Cawley

Cornell University - College of Human Ecology, Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

3M24 MVR Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Cornell University - College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States

The University of Sydney - School of Economics ( email )

Rm 370 Merewether (H04)
Sydney, NSW 2006 2008
Australia

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) - J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics ( email )

Galway
Ireland

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David R. Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
607-255-2086 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

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