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Should we put a thin subsidy on the policy table in the fight against Obesity?

Lordan, Grace and Quiggin, John C. (2011) Should we put a thin subsidy on the policy table in the fight against Obesity? Forum for Health Economics and Policy, 14 (2). ISSN 1558-9544

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Identification Number: 10.2202/1558-9544.1235


The idea of using 'fat taxes' to curb obesity rates has been raised by many. In particular, the idea of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has received considerable attention in the United States and has recently been discussed by President Obama. Rather less attention has been given to the alternative of 'thin subsidies', that is, subsidies for the consumption of foods or beverages likely to be associated with reduced incidence of obesity. This commentary examines the case for a subsidy for artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) or 'diet soft drinks'. In this commentary, we outline the evidence on the relationship between health outcomes, most notably obesity, and the consumption of SSBs and ASBs. In the light of the evidence we consider the economic effects of taxing SSBs, and the way in which those effects would be modified by the adoption of the alternative 'thin subsidy' based on subsidising ASBs.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 the Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 12:38
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:19

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