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Research Letter
January 16, 2018

Pass-Through of a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages at the Philadelphia International Airport

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • 2Department of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • 3Department of Economics, University of Iowa, Iowa City
JAMA. 2018;319(3):305-306. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16903

Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have been proposed as a possible approach to prevent obesity and improve diets.1,2 These taxes have recently been implemented in Berkeley, California, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A goal of the taxes is to increase prices and dissuade consumption, but the taxes are levied on beverage distributors, and it is unclear how much of the tax is passed through to consumers as higher retail prices vs being paid by distributors or manufacturers. This study estimated the extent to which the tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on SSBs in Philadelphia (implemented on January 1, 2017) raised retail prices.