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Multi-City Evaluation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Taxes
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Recommended by the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, and the American Public Health Association (among others), such taxes have been adopted by dozens of countries, including Mexico, Peru, Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Norway, South Africa, India, the Philippines, and Samoa. Although the United States does not have a national tax on sweetened beverages, seven U.S. cities have adopted one since 2015.
This study, conducted by Mathematica staff in coordination with John Cawley at Cornell University and David Frisvold at the University of Iowa, evaluated the implementation and impact of these taxes in four cities, primarily in Philadelphia and Oakland, with additional analysis in San Francisco and Seattle. Its findings included the first-ever evidence of sweetened-beverage taxes’ effects on children. The research not only examined how residents’ consumption and purchases of taxed beverages changed after the taxes went into effect, but also examined how retailers responded to the taxes through changes in pricing, advertising, and product availability.
Evidence & Insights From This Project
The Most Comprehensive Study of Soda Taxes Says a Lot About Consumption, Prices, and the Future of Nudges
For this episode of On the Evidence, we spoke with the principal investigators for the project: Dave Jones, an associate director in the Health Unit at Mathematica, and Dave Frisvold, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Iowa.Learn More