Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sugar tax

Posted by Danny Tarlow
From David Paterson via CNN:
For example, a study by Harvard researchers found that each additional 12-ounce soft drink consumed per day increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60 percent. For adults, the association is similar.
I think this is really cool -- I'm all for using taxes to combat externalities, and obesity seems like a major one. However, my first thought (without knowing anything about the actual study) is that I'm not convinced about the causal role of soft drinks causing obesity. It seems to me that there are an awful lot of unhealthy lifestyles that include drinking more soft drinks. The unhealthy lifestyle can jointly cause higher rates of obesity and more consumption of soft drinks. I haven't been able to find a full list of the new proposed taxes. Is the soft drink tax just a representative example of a larger obesity-fighting program?

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