Crowle, Jacqueline & Turner, Erin, 2010Childhood Obesity: An Economic Perspective, Australian Government, Productivity Commission Working Paper, Melbourne 2010

The working paper studies the rising levels of childhood obesity in Australia and examines the effectiveness of government intervention in reducing the number of children who suffer from being overweight. Some key insights from the working paper:

  • “Bans or taxes on particular energy-dense nutrient-poor foods, for example, face design difficulties, affect all consumers regardless of their weight status, and in the case of taxes, can have perverse budgetary and health effects particularly for the neediest groups.”
  • “The considerable uncertainty about the causes of obesity suggests that hard interventions, such as taxes or subsidies on specific goods and services, would be difficult to justify. Further, the practical challenges of designing taxes on specific goods and services limit the likelihood of them being effective in addressing obesity (and may lead to perverse outcomes).”

You can find the full working paper here.