Lessons from Berkeley’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Election and Tax

Scott Kaplan, Rebecca Taylor, and Sofia B. Villas-Boas

from ARE Update Vol. 22, No. 4, Mar/Apr, 2019

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Abstract

In 2014, Berkeley passed the nation’s first sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax, also known as a soda tax, through a public vote. Using sales data from Berkeley retailers, we find that sales of soda fell relative to non-SSB beverages by 10–20% after the election outcome and before the tax was ever passed on to consumers. Our findings suggest soda tax media coverage and election outcomes can have larger effects on purchasing behavior than the tax itself.

Keywords

Social norms, externalities, local elections

Citation

Scott Kaplan, Rebecca Taylor, and Sofia B. Villas-Boas. "Lessons from Berkeley’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Election and Tax." ARE Update 22(4)(2019):9-11. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.
https://giannini.ucop.edu/publications/are-update/issues/2019/22/4/lessons-from-berkeleys-sugar-sweetened-beverage-el/