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Fast Food Lead to Obesity

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Submitted By kartik150787
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Economics and Human Biology 11 (2013) 134–147

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Fast food prices, obesity, and the minimum wage
Chad Cotti a, Nathan Tefft b,* a b

Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI 54901, USA
Department of Economics, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA



Article history:
Received 1 August 2011
Received in revised form 22 March 2012
Accepted 9 April 2012
Available online 15 April 2012

Recent proposals argue that a fast food tax may be an effective policy lever for reducing population weight. Although there is growing evidence for a negative association between fast food prices and weight among adolescents, less is known about adults. That any measured relationship to date is causal is unclear because there has been no attempt to separate variation in prices on the demand side from that on the supply side. We argue that the minimum wage is an exogenous source of variation in fast food prices, conditional on income and employment. In two-stage least-squares analyses, we find little evidence that fast food price changes affect adult BMI or obesity prevalence. Results are robust to including controls for area and time fixed effects, area time trends, demographic characteristics, substitute prices, numbers of establishments and employment in related industries, and other potentially related factors. ß 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JEL classification:
Fast food prices
Body mass index
Minimum wage

1. Introduction
The rise in obesity rates at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries remains one of the major public health issues in the developed world

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