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"Fettskatten" - ett sätt att banta de samhällsekonomiska kostnaderna till följd av övervikt?

Svensson, Johanna and Smedby, Nora (2008)
Department of Economics
Abstract
The rise in prevalence and severity of obesity and related diseases imposes increasing costs on society. The objective of this thesis is to discuss and estimate the possible effects of a so-called fat tax as a tool for minimizing these costs. Two alternatives for differentiation of the value-added tax (VAT) on food are compared. The first alternative is an increase of the VAT levied on food containing saturated fatty acids. The second alternative is a subsidy on fruit and vegetables in the form of a VAT at zero percent, instead of today’s twelve percent. A special focus is put on the effects on different socioeconomic groups. Possible economic reasons behind the increase in obesity and expected outcomes of a fat tax are discussed. By using... (More)
The rise in prevalence and severity of obesity and related diseases imposes increasing costs on society. The objective of this thesis is to discuss and estimate the possible effects of a so-called fat tax as a tool for minimizing these costs. Two alternatives for differentiation of the value-added tax (VAT) on food are compared. The first alternative is an increase of the VAT levied on food containing saturated fatty acids. The second alternative is a subsidy on fruit and vegetables in the form of a VAT at zero percent, instead of today’s twelve percent. A special focus is put on the effects on different socioeconomic groups. Possible economic reasons behind the increase in obesity and expected outcomes of a fat tax are discussed. By using data from the National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket), Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) and Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån) possible effects of the two alternatives have been estimated. As an approximation of consumer response to price changes, Danish price elasticities, subdivivded according to socioeconomic characteristics has been used, as there are no such Swedish studies on food elasticity. In both alternatives we expect a change in food consumption as a result of the VAT-differentiation. This change has the greatest effect on lower socioeconomic groups, in which the prevalence of obesity is the highest. Relevant costs and benefits are considered and estimated as far as possible. According to our calculations a subsidy on fruit and vegetables would imply a bigger gain for society than an increased VAT on saturated fat. The results indicate that a fat tax can be justified, as market imperfections in the food market prevail. The design of the economic tool has to be very careful in order to cause a minimum of distorting effects. Herein lies a trade-off between precision and high administrative costs. (Less)
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@misc{1337856,
  abstract     = {The rise in prevalence and severity of obesity and related diseases imposes increasing costs on society. The objective of this thesis is to discuss and estimate the possible effects of a so-called fat tax as a tool for minimizing these costs. Two alternatives for differentiation of the value-added tax (VAT) on food are compared. The first alternative is an increase of the VAT levied on food containing saturated fatty acids. The second alternative is a subsidy on fruit and vegetables in the form of a VAT at zero percent, instead of today’s twelve percent. A special focus is put on the effects on different socioeconomic groups. Possible economic reasons behind the increase in obesity and expected outcomes of a fat tax are discussed. By using data from the National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket), Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) and Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån) possible effects of the two alternatives have been estimated. As an approximation of consumer response to price changes, Danish price elasticities, subdivivded according to socioeconomic characteristics has been used, as there are no such Swedish studies on food elasticity. In both alternatives we expect a change in food consumption as a result of the VAT-differentiation. This change has the greatest effect on lower socioeconomic groups, in which the prevalence of obesity is the highest. Relevant costs and benefits are considered and estimated as far as possible. According to our calculations a subsidy on fruit and vegetables would imply a bigger gain for society than an increased VAT on saturated fat. The results indicate that a fat tax can be justified, as market imperfections in the food market prevail. The design of the economic tool has to be very careful in order to cause a minimum of distorting effects. Herein lies a trade-off between precision and high administrative costs.},
  author       = {Svensson, Johanna and Smedby, Nora},
  keyword      = {externaliteter,övervikt,fettskatt,Economics, econometrics, economic theory, economic systems, economic policy,Nationalekonomi, ekonometri, ekonomisk teori, ekonomiska system, ekonomisk politik},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"Fettskatten" - ett sätt att banta de samhällsekonomiska kostnaderna till följd av övervikt?},
  year         = {2008},
}