The effect of price and socio-economic level on the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB): The case of Ecuador

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Abstract

The objective of this article is to estimate the own-price, cross-price and income elasticities of demand for SSB in Ecuador, as an indispensable step for predicting a reduction in the consumption of said beverages caused by the potential implementation of taxes in Ecuador. In addition, the own-price, cross-price and income elasticities of sugar-free substitutes like mineral water and diet soft drinks and juices are also estimated. The data from the 2011-2012 ENIGHUR, which contains detailed information on household consumption and socioeconomic variables, was used. The estimates are done using Deaton's Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) which accounts for differences in the quality of goods purchased. This demand system is estimated for different socio-economic groups, according to total household expenditure. The results reveal own-price elasticities for SSB between -1.17 and -1.33 depending on the socio-economic group, in line with the existing evidence for developed countries. Own-price elasticity for non-SSB is between -1 and -1.24. Income elasticities reveal that both SSB and non-SSB are normal goods with elasticities decreasing for higher socio-economic groups. These results show that the consumption of SSB is sensitive to price changes, meaning that the implementation of taxes on said beverages could be effective in reducing their consumption. The fact that non-SSB are also sensitive to price changes would indicate that subsidies could be implemented for the production of some of them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0152260
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2016

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