Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Impact Of Soda Taxes: Pass-through, Tax Avoidance, And Nutritional Effects

Stephen Seiler (Stanford), Anna Tuchman (Northwestern) & Song Yao (Minnesota), The Impact of Soda Taxes: Pass-through, Tax Avoidance, and Nutritional Effects

We analyze the impact of a tax on sweetened beverages, often referred to as a “soda tax,” using a unique data-set of prices, quantities sold and nutritional information across several thousand taxed and untaxed beverages for a large set of stores in Philadelphia and its surrounding area. We find that the tax is passed through at a rate of 75-115%, leading to a 30-40% price increase. Demand in the taxed area decreases dramatically by 42% in response to the tax.

There is no significant substitution to untaxed beverages (water and natural juices), but cross-shopping at stores outside of Philadelphia completely offsets the reduction in sales within the taxed area. As a consequence, we find no significant reduction in calorie and sugar intake.

Scholarship, Tax | Permalink


Shocking! People avoid taxes that are easily avoided, and people don't change their consumption habits if they can easily find a way not to.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Jan 17, 2019 3:37:04 AM