Evaluation of Local-Level Sweetened Beverage Taxation in the US

Sweetened Beverages On Store Shelves

Summary

This evaluation studies sweetened beverage taxation in jurisdictions across the US, including Oakland, CA; Seattle, WA; Cook County, IL; King County, WA; Philadelphia County, PA; and San Francisco County, CA.  We look at each taxing jurisdiction before and after the tax goes into effect and compare it to a similar jurisdiction without the tax to answer seven primary research questions.  To evaluate the specific questions outlined below, the research team is using food outlet environmental audits, retail-level scanner data, national and publicly available datasets, and key informant interviews.

Research Questions

  • Tax Pass-Through

    How much of the sweetened beverage tax is passed-through to consumers in the form of higher prices for taxed beverages?

  • Sales

    Are there retail changes in the sales and volume sold of taxed beverages following the implementation of a sweetened beverage tax?

  • Substitution

    Are there retail changes in the sales and volume sold of untaxed beverages, alcohol, snacks, and sweets following the implementation of a sweetened beverage tax?

  • Marketing

    Do retailers change marketing strategies and price promotions on taxed and untaxed beverages following the implementation of a sweetened beverage tax?

  • Cross Border Shopping

    Do individuals avoid the sweetened beverage tax by shopping in bordering areas that do not have a tax?

  • Employment

    Are there changes in employment overall or in specific industries following the implementation of a sweetened beverage tax?

  • Revenue

    Are there differences in the amount of revenue raised by jurisdiction?

  • Implementation

    What successes and challenges to sweetened beverage tax implementation should be shared with other jurisdictions considering a tax?

Our Team