Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HUI Working Papers,
HUI Research

No 11: The Impact of Tax Reforms Designed to Encourage a Healthier Grain Consumption

Jonas Nordström () and Linda Thunström ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Nordström: Institute of Food and Resource Economics, Postal: University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Linda Thunström: The Swedish Retail Institute, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: In this paper, we simulate the effects of taxes on products and/or nutrients aimed at encouraging a healthier grain consumption. To carry out the analysis, we use a rich data set on household consumption of grain products, combined with information about the nutritional content of the products. We estimate behavioural parameters that are used to simulate the impact on the average household of different types of tax reforms; entailing either a subsidy on commodities particularly rich in fibre or a subsidy of the fibre density in grain products. Our results suggest that to direct the fibre intake of the average household towards nutritional recommendations, reforms with a substantial impact on consumer prices are required. Our results also imply that subsidizing the fibre density is more cost-efficient than reducing the VAT on commodities rich in fibre. Regardless of the type of subsidy imposed, the increase in the fibre intake is accompanied by unwanted increases in the nutrients that are often over consumed; fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar and added sugar. Funding the subsidies by taxing these nutrients, or less healthy commodities, prevents such developments.

Keywords: Consumer economics; food; health; taxation

JEL-codes: D12; H23; I18

44 pages, November 6, 2007

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