Fat tax, subsidy or both? The role of information and children's pester power in food choice

Georgia S. Papoutsi, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Panagiotis Lazaridis, Andreas C. Drichoutis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Using a discrete choice experiment with real economic incentives, this paper studies how food fiscal policies and external influences (such as pestering and information) can affect parental choice of food for their child. Using pairs of a parent and child, the experimental design varies the food prices of healthier and unhealthier alternatives of food products for children as part of specific food fiscal policies. We then examine the interplay of children's pester power as well as information about the fiscal policies. The results from our lab experiment suggest that (a) implementing a fat tax and a subsidy simultaneously can shift parental behavior to healthier food products to a greater degree than a fat tax or a subsidy alone, (b) providing information regarding the food fiscal policies can further increase the impact of the intervention, and (c) child pestering is one of the causes of the moderate effectiveness of the policies as it strongly affects parents in making unhealthier choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Mary Yannakoulia for her valuable help with the nutritional/health aspects of the experiment. All remaining errors are solely our own. This work was partly supported by Nayga's Tyson endowment funds and the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF-2014S1A3A2044459 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Choice experiment
  • Fat tax
  • Information
  • Pester power
  • Subsidy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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