November 2012

posted Nov 10, 2012, 10:06 AM by PC/SM Chief Resident   [ updated Nov 10, 2012, 10:08 AM by Angela Jeffers ]
Legislating Healthy Foods: Taxes and Bans to Improve Health

Readings:

1. What is the effect of a tax on demand?

2. What is elasticity (aka the "price elasticity of demand" -- see the Methods section in the Andreyeva article)? Do unhealthy products with high elasticity of demand or low elasticity of demand make good targets for taxes?

3. A sugar-sweetened beverage tax would be a fixed tax, for example, $0.20 on a 20 oz. bottle of regular soda. What does this $0.20 mean to a low-income consumer versus a high-income consumer?

4. What are some factors that are not accounted for by Andreyeva's model? For example, if someone doesn't buy a regular soda because of the tax, what might they spend their money on?

5. What is the effect of trans fats on health? What outcomes have been studied?

6. Critics of the trans fat ban argued that reduction in trans fats would lead to increased use of saturated fats. Has this happened?

7. What do you believe the role of public health departments or legislation is in reducing health risks?