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Fat taxes and thin subsidies: Prices, diet, and health outcomes

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“Fat taxes” have been proposed as a way of addressing food-related health concerns. In this paper, we investigate the possible effects of “thin subsidies”, consumption subsidies for healthier foods. Empirical simulations, based on data from the Continuing Study of Food Intake by Individuals, are used to calculate the potential health benefits of subsidies on certain classes of fruits and vegetables in the United States. Estimates of the cost per statistical life saved through such subsidies compare favorably with existing U.S. government programs.

Keywords: Nutrition; disease; food subsidies; fruits and vegetables

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Rural Economy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 2: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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