Publicado por: claudio | setembro 7, 2009

Economia, preços de alimentos, obesidade…

Art Carden tem um artigo sobre capitalismo aqui e um mais científico – e interessante – que cito a seguir.

The Skinny on Big Box Retailing: Wal-Mart, Warehouse Clubs, and Obesity

Charles Courtemanche
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Art Carden
Rhodes College

Abstract:
We estimate the impacts of county-level Walmart Discount Store, Walmart Supercenter, and warehouse club presence on individual body weight, obesity status, food consumption, and exercise. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that cheap food causes weight gain, we find no evidence that any of these stores increase weight or lead to less healthy eating habits. Warehouse club entry is actually associated with reductions in weight, obesity, junk food intake, and eating at restaurants as well as increases in fruit and vegetable consumption. These results suggest that bulk buying is a more important determinant of body weight than food prices, at least in this context. Buying groceries in bulk may lead to healthier eating by allowing individuals to counteract self-control problems by constraining future choices.

Para os alunos de microeconomia:

Conventional wisdom suggests that Walmarts and warehouse clubs sell cheap food, so their entry
should cause people to eat more and gain weight. However, a more careful analysis reveals that
these stores could potentially impact weight through a number of mechanisms – including
substitution effects, income effects, bulk buying effects, and effects on exercise – and that the
direction of the net effect is unclear a priori.
Consider an individual with a fixed food budget who divides this budget between unhealthy
grocery food (such as processed snacks), healthy grocery food (such as fresh fruits and
vegetables), and restaurant food. Assume that Discount Stores, Supercenters, and warehouse
clubs all sell unhealthy food, while Supercenters and warehouse clubs also sell healthy food and
none of the stores sell restaurant food. Assume further that the foods sold at these stores are
cheaper than the same foods at conventional grocery stores.
9
If the individual’s preferences are separable, then the conventional wisdom holds. The entry of a
nearby Walmart Discount Store would increase unhealthy food consumption while leaving
healthy food consumption and restaurant eating unchanged. The overall effect would be higher
caloric intake and weight gain. Supercenters and warehouse clubs would increase consumption
of both unhealthy and healthy foods while leaving restaurant eating unchanged, again leading to
higher caloric intake and weight gain.
However, in reality the three types of food are likely substitutes, in which case the net effects of
the discount retailers are more complex.

Conventional wisdom suggests that Walmarts and warehouse clubs sell cheap food, so their entry should cause people to eat more and gain weight. However, a more careful analysis reveals that these stores could potentially impact weight through a number of mechanisms – including substitution effects, income effects, bulk buying effects, and effects on exercise – and that the direction of the net effect is unclear a priori.

Consider an individual with a fixed food budget who divides this budget between unhealthy grocery food (such as processed snacks), healthy grocery food (such as fresh fruits and vegetables), and restaurant food. Assume that Discount Stores, Supercenters, and warehouse clubs all sell unhealthy food, while Supercenters and warehouse clubs also sell healthy food and none of the stores sell restaurant food. Assume further that the foods sold at these stores are cheaper than the same foods at conventional grocery stores.

If the individual’s preferences are separable, then the conventional wisdom holds. The entry of a nearby Walmart Discount Store would increase unhealthy food consumption while leaving healthy food consumption and restaurant eating unchanged. The overall effect would be higher caloric intake and weight gain. Supercenters and warehouse clubs would increase consumption of both unhealthy and healthy foods while leaving restaurant eating unchanged, again leading to higher caloric intake and weight gain.

However, in reality the three types of food are likely substitutes, in which case the net effects of the discount retailers are more complex.

Preferências separáveis? Efeitos-renda? Substitutos? Bem, acho que um bom aluno poderá fazer as conexões necessárias com alguns exercícios rapidamente…

[cross-posting: Gustibus]

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