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Keywords:

  • C23;
  • D12;
  • I10;
  • I18;
  • Q18
  • Obesity;
  • Food consumption;
  • Quality;
  • Fat tax;
  • Russia;
  • RLMS

Abstract

This article investigates the extent to which Russian households that differ in their members’ weight status adjust their food consumption differently when their economic resources change. Using household-panel data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) from 1995 to 2005, we estimate total expenditure elasticities of food expenditures, food quantities, and food quality for normal-weight, overweight, and obese households, respectively. The expenditure elasticities of quality derived for obese households for meat, bread, fruits, and dairy were found to be 15–20% higher than those of normal households. Hence, a change in economic resources causes obese households to adjust the quality of purchased foods significantly more flexibly than normal-weight households. Only few differences were found for quantity and expenditure reactions. Our results emphasize that policies aiming to reduce obesity should consider deviations in consumption behavior of normal and obese consumers in terms of quality.