Soda Wars: The Effect of a Soda Tax Election on University Beverage Sales

17 Pages Posted: 22 May 2019

See all articles by Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor

The University of Sydney - School of Economics

Scott Kaplan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Sofia Berto Villas-Boas

University of California, Berkeley - Agricultural & Resource Economics

Kevin Jung

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics; Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

We examine how soda sales changed due to the campaign attention and election outcome of a local excise tax on sugar‐sweetened beverages. Using panel data of beverage sales from university retailers in Berkeley, California, we estimate that soda purchases relative to control beverages significantly dropped immediately after the election, months before the tax was implemented in the city of Berkeley or on campus. Supplemental scanner data from off‐campus retailers reveal this result is not unique to the university setting. Our findings suggest soda tax media coverage and election outcomes can have larger effects on purchasing behavior than the tax itself.

JEL Classification: D12, H20, C23, I38, Q18

Suggested Citation

Taylor, Rebecca and Kaplan, Scott and Villas-Boas, Sofia and Jung, Chae Young, Soda Wars: The Effect of a Soda Tax Election on University Beverage Sales (July 2019). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 57, Issue 3, pp. 1480-1496, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3392581 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12776

Rebecca Taylor (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney - School of Economics ( email )

Rm 370 Merewether (H04)
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Scott Kaplan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Sofia Villas-Boas

University of California, Berkeley - Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

310 Giannini Hall # 3310
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-643-6359 (Phone)
510-643-8911 (Fax)

Chae Young Jung

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

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