Allcott speaks on sin taxes and sugary drinks

Sunday, Apr 15, 2018

In a talk rescheduled from the fall, Hunt Allcott, Associate Professor of Economics at New York University, spoke about ways to determine the optimal soda tax, Thursday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m. in 399 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building.

Allcott, whose research focuses on consumer behavior, business strategy,  and regulatory policy, has recently looked at “sin taxes”—corrective taxes on goods like cigarettes, alcohol, and sugary drinks, which are believed to be over-consumed.  A common objection to these taxes is that they fall disproportionately on low-income consumers.

During the Behavioral Policy Speaker Series, the talk "Regressive Sin Taxes: What Is the Optimal Soda Tax?" included results from a study that looks at the interaction between corrective and redistributive motives in a general optimal taxation framework in the spirit of Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976).  The study calibrates the model using the Nielsen Homescan dataset of household grocery purchases combined with a specially designed survey measuring temptation and health knowledge.

The talk was free and open to the public.