NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Pass-Through of the Largest Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: The Case of Boulder, Colorado

John Cawley, Chelsea Crain, David Frisvold, David Jones

NBER Working Paper No. 25050
Issued in September 2018
NBER Program(s):Health Economics, Public Economics

We estimate the incidence of a relatively new type of excise tax, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). We examine the largest such tax to date, which is two cents per ounce, in Boulder, CO. Using data that were hand-collected from stores and restaurants in both Boulder and two control communities, as well as internet data of restaurant menus, we find that the tax was largely, but not completely, passed through to consumers 5-7 weeks after implementation. Some retailers add the tax only at the register, indicating that estimates solely from posted prices would result in an underestimate of pass-through.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25050

 
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