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Framing and signaling effects of taxes on sugary drinks: a Discrete Choice Experiment among households in Great Britain

Cornelsen, Laura, Quaife, Matthew, Lagarde, Mylène and Smith, Richard (2020) Framing and signaling effects of taxes on sugary drinks: a Discrete Choice Experiment among households in Great Britain. Health Economics. ISSN 1057-9230

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Abstract

Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are in place in many countries to combat obesity with emerging evidence that these are effective in reducing purchases of SSBs. In this study, we test whether signaling and framing the price increase from an SSB tax explicitly as a health-related, earmarked measure reduces the demand for SSBs more than an equivalent price increase. We measure the demand for non-alcoholic beverages with a discrete choice experiment (DCE) administered online to a randomly selected group of n=603 regular consumers of SSBs in the UK whose households also include children. We find suggestive evidence that a price increase leads to a larger reduction in the probability of choosing SSBs when it is signaled as a tax and framed as a health-related and earmarked policy. Respondents who did not support a tax on SSBs, while more likely to choose SSBs in the first place, were on average more responsive to a price increase framed as an earmarked tax than those who supported the tax. The predictive validity of the DCE to capture preferences for beverages was confirmed using actual purchase data. The findings imply that a well-signaled and earmarked tax on SSBs could improve its effectiveness at reducing the demand.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Health Policy
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 10:54
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 23:28
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/105232

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