Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2009:14: Economic Policies for Healthier Food Intake: The Impact on Different Household Categories

Jonas Nordström () and Linda Thunström ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Nordström: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Linda Thunström: The Swedish Retail Institute, Postal: The Swedish Retail Institute, SE-103 29 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper simulates the impact across household types of fully funded tax reforms designed to increase consumers’ fiber intake from grain consumption. Our results suggest that household types with the highest initial consumption share of fiber-rich products – i.e., households without children (seniors, couples without children, and single women without children) – experience the highest increase in fiber intake from these reforms. However, they also experience high increases in unhealthy nutrients from the reforms, making the net health effects difficult to evaluate. Seniors and couples without children also gain the most financially, paying less food taxes and facing, depending on the reform, either a lower price level than before the reform or a lower increase in the price level than the average household. These household types also face the lowest initial price level. Households with the lowest initial consumption share of fiber-rich products – families with children – appear to gain the least financially from the reforms: they pay more food taxes and face relatively high increases in price levels. Further, in general they experience an increase in fiber intake smaller than the average household. However, they do generally see reductions in the intake of added sugar, and in many cases saturated fat, which positively affects the health of families with children, who often overconsume these nutrients.

Keywords: consumer economics; food; health; taxation

JEL-codes: D12; H23; I18

32 pages, October 16, 2009

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