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Strategic Pricing and Health Price Policies

Céline Bonnet and Vincent Réquillart

No 671, IDEI Working Papers from Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse

Abstract: Because soft drink (SD) consumption is considered to be a contributor to the ’epidemic’ of obesity, there is a growing interest in evaluating the impact on SD consumption of alternative tax policies. In this paper, we propose a methodology to evaluate the impact of taxation of a food market taking into account the strategic price response of both manufacturers and retailers. We apply this methodology to the French SD market and simulate the impacts of ad valorem and excise taxes. We find that firms behave differently when facing an ad valorem tax or an excise tax. Excise tax is overshifted to consumer prices while ad valorem tax is undershifted to consumer prices. We find that an excise tax based on the sugar content of SD is the most efficient at reducing soft drink consumption. Our results also indicate that ignoring strategic pricing by firms leads to misestimate the impact of taxation by 15% to 40% depending on the products and the tax implemented. In the short term, that is ignoring positive long term health effects, a € 9 cents per litre excise tax has a small negative welfare effect (about € 1 per person per year).

Keywords: excise tax; ad valorem tax; tax incidence; strategic pricing; differentiated products; soft drinks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H32 I18 L13 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-04, Revised 2012-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-com, nep-mkt and nep-pub
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc

Downloads: (external link) Old version April 2011 (application/pdf) Last version July 2012 (application/pdf)

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