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Reformulation and taxes for healthier consumption: Empirical evidence in the French Dessert market

Allais, Oliver, Bonnet, Céline, Réquillart, Vincent and Spiteri, Marine (2020) Reformulation and taxes for healthier consumption: Empirical evidence in the French Dessert market. TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1082, Toulouse

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Abstract

Many countries have implemented the taxation of unhealthy food. Facing such a tax, firms can adapt their
pricing strategy and modify the characteristics of their products. There are, so far, only a few ex-ante analyses
of the impact of taxes on consumption that endogenize the price response of firms to the tax policy. However,
none of them takes into account the possibility for firms to modify the characteristics of a product. In this paper,
we propose an ex-ante evaluation of the effects of a tax that targets products high in caloric sweeteners on key
market outcomes, by integrating not only the strategic price reactions of firms, but also the exogenous changes
in a product’s nutritional composition. We develop a structural econometric model that integrates the consumer’s
substitution patterns between products, accounts for competition between firms, and integrates the possibility
for firms to modify the characteristics of a product in response to taxation. Using household scanner data from
the French dessert market, we show that ignoring how firms might react to a tax policy leads to a significant
underestimation of the potential impact of taxation on the consumption of taxed nutrients. In our case, we show
that ignoring the combined effect of strategic price reactions and product reformulation leads to the impact of
the tax on the intake of the taxed nutrient being underestimated by 44%. From a policy-oriented perspective, we
conclude that a taxation scheme should be designed to favor product reformulation by firms.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Language: English
Date: March 2020
Place of Publication: Toulouse
JEL Classification: H32 - Firm
I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
Q18 - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Institution: Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2020 14:42
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 14:42
OAI Identifier: oai:tse-fr.eu:124156
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/34248

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