NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Matthew Harding

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Working Papers

January 2014The Effect of Prices on Nutrition: Comparing the Impact of Product- and Nutrient-Specific Taxes
with Michael Lovenheim: w19781
This paper provides an analysis of the role of prices in determining food purchases and nutrition using very detailed transaction-level observations for a large, nationally-representative sample of US consumers over the period 2002-2007. Using product- specific nutritional information, we develop a new method of partitioning the product space into relevant nutritional clusters that define a set of nutritionally-bundled goods, which parsimoniously characterize consumer choice sets. We then estimate a large utility-derived demand system over this joint product-nutrient space that allows us to calculate price and expenditure elasticities. Using our structural demand estimates, we simulate the role of product taxes on soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, packaged meals, and snacks, and nutrient t...

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