Evaluating the 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Chile: Observational evidence from urban areas

Ryota Nakamura*, Andrew J. Mirelman, Cristóbal Cuadrado, Nicolás Silva, Jocelyn Dunstan, Marc Suhrcke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


An already large and growing number of countries-both rich and poor-are facing an enormous challenge to curb rising rates of obesity and diet-related ill-health, much of which affects lower socio-economic groups. Fiscal policy has the potential to influence consumption patterns toward healthier options (and raise government revenue for welfare-enhancing purposes), thereby contributing to the prevention of chronic diseases and to the reduction of the associated economic costs. Yet, there is a scarcity of empirical evaluations of diet-related fiscal interventions, and it is still uncertain whether these can be effective in improving population diet and health in a "real-world" context. Chile is one of the very few countries that have thus far implemented an explicit fiscal policy to improve healthier diets. In this chapter, we describe and discuss the results of our impact evaluation of the tax policy (Nakamura et al., 2018). Results were mixed, showing population average results that consistently indicated a decrease in the monthly purchased volume of the higher taxed sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) (21.6% for the statistically preferred model), but also one that varied considerably in magnitude across different models, thereby reducing the confidence in this overall estimate. The reduction in soft drink-purchasing was most robustly evident amongst higher socio-economic groups and higher pretax purchasers of sugary soft drinks. There was no systematic, robust pattern in the estimates by households' obesity status. This suggests that the policy may have been partially effective, though not necessarily in ways that are likely to reduce socio-economic inequalities in diet-related health. A longer term evaluation, ideally including an assessment of the consumption and health impacts, should be conducted in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Health Economics
Subtitle of host publicationShaping Health Policy In Low- And Middle-income Countries
EditorsPaul Revill, Marc Suhrcke, Rodrigo Moreno-Serra, Mark Sculpher
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789813272378
ISBN (Print)9789813272361
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2020

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