Economics of the Sugar Tax

You should always be wary of taxes justified on the basis of fiscal externalities. They can come back to bite you.


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was delighted with the ‘sugar tax’ that was announced as part of the 2016 Budget in the UK. The tax, which will come in from 2018, could add 8p (17c) to the price of cans of fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola, 7Up and Irn Bru, energy drinks like Red Bull and carton juice drinks like Ribena from 2018. Below is a clip from BBC Newsnight explaining the rationale behind the tax.

In economics sugary drinks have a negative externality, (cost to third party) and the tax will make consumers pay some of the external cost.

This higher tax reduces the quantity demanded, raises revenue for government and achieve a more socially efficient level of consumption. The money raised will go towards sport in primary schools. The sugar tax should help to reduce major health issues, such as:

  • obesity and related illnesses
  • diabetes –  in particular type 2 diabetes
  • tooth decay

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Las Vegas population since 1900

The Las Vegas population doubled in the 60s doubled again between 1970 and 1990 and almost doubled again by 2000.


Source:  Las Vegas Population.

Between 1990 and 2000 despite the doubling of population, housing prices only increased by 25%.


Source:  S&P/Case-Shiller Las Vegas Home Price Index – S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Land supply must be pretty easy in Las Vegas at least up until 2000.

Source: Economics of Contempt: Land Use Regulations and the Housing Bubble.

Populism arises amidst workers abandoned by the Left, seeking allies

Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Populism has arisen from the lower middle class, Americans abandoned not just by the Right (owned by the 1%) but the Left as well. Populists are the swing vote in modern election. Who they choose to ally with might create a coalition that rules for another generation.

Fork in the road

Decline of the middle class in America

This report by Gallup shows the fracturing of the middle class, as the lower class is ground down. We’re near the historic moment when more Americans identify as “lower class” than “middle class” — a milestone in the Right’s long project to reverse the New Deal. This shows the force powering the political fires now ignited. We’re just discussing what form it will take.

Americans are considerably less likely now than they were in 2008 and years prior to identify themselves as middle class or upper-middle class, while the percentage putting themselves in the working…

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The share market speaks on the UK #sugartax @JulieAnneGenter @GreenCatherine


The biggest drop was in a company that sold its sugar interests in 2009 so that was a rather within the day affair once traders realised their error.

Source: George Osborne’s sugar tax could raise price of diet drinks and even bottled water  | Daily Mail Online

“The Great Green Con”: Pro-conspiracy information within the media

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories


This morning I came across a news article that read so similar to my pro-conspiracy manipulation used within a recent paper, it was quite unnerving. I have spoken about this paper before on this blog, where it was shown that exposure to pro-conspiracy information concerning climate change increased one’s conspiracy belief, which subsequently decreased their intention to reduce their carbon footprint.

This manipulation involved the climate change conspiracy theory being presented, without information refuting it (i.e., “the main-stream account”) being acknowledged. Therefore, the piece aimed to explore the direct impact of being exposed to such conspiracies. Interestingly, the news article here does appear to follow a similar pattern, rather it does not seem to mention the main-stream account to show a balance argument, and when it does, it is in rather a negative light. Further, it includes evidence from scientists, and provides a variety of statistics, all again not counter-balanced…

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The influence of conspiracy information: Beliefs & Intentions

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are influential. Empirical work, both of my own and other scholars have indeed shown that this is the case. Whilst watching “Did we land on the moon” on channel 5 last night, I therefore wondered what influence this documentary could have on someone’s beliefs about the moon landing, since it appeared to be very pro-conspiracy focused. For example,  a series of studies co-authored by Karen Douglas and myself, which are due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology, have shown that after exposure to pro-conspiracy information (i.e., information that supports conspiracy theories concerning governmental or climate change conspiracies) participants were more likely to endorse a variety of conspiracy theories (i.e., 9/11, Diana etc.), relative to those who were exposed to anti-conspiracy information, or who were in a control condition. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that this exposure can also influence a person’s behavioural intentions – specifically being detrimental for…

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Is Corbyn turning Labour into a ‘Democratic Centralist’ Party?

Jeremy Corbyn has spent his entire three decades in Parliament distancing himself from the rest of the PLP and voting almost relentlessly against his own Party. He has absolutely no experience of building coalitions of support and of the many compromises needed to do so. His whole political persona has been built on intransigence and “principle”.


And what, exactly, is “democratic centralism” I hear you ask?

LeninIt is the form of organization pioneered by Lenin and the Bolsheviks and adopted by all communist and Trotskyist organizations ever since.

In this model the political party is not about elections or representation in parliament, although they do that, but about creating a vanguard elite ready to seize power on behalf of the “the masses” when “the time comes”.

Typically a ‘democratic centralist’ party selects its members, who have to go through some sort of probationary period during which they are indoctrinated with the party’s values, ideology and methods before becoming full members.

Once members, individuals get to vote either directly or through delegates on party policy and direction. Often communist and Trotskyist parties have been divided internally into ‘factions’ supporting a particular platform or direction which is presented to the membership. A supposedly free discussion follows before a…

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Who Governs Britain After May 7th?


The media is rife with speculation about who will do deals with whom after May 7th and what the possibilities are. What is obvious is that most of them are working on old assumptions about how Governments are formed which predate the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 (FTPA), which has fundamentally changed the way these things work.

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Islamic Suicide Bomber Trainer Accidentally Blows Up His Entire Class – Israel Video Network

Dumbest Commie. Ever. By A Huge Margin

Real Science

Screenshot 2016-03-17 at 10.08.39 PM

Bernie thinks that February was the hottest month ever. Even single celled creatures are intelligent enough to understand that winter is cold – but not progressives.

NOAA calculates Earth’s temperature within 0.01 degrees, using a data set which has no coverage over half of the land surface. Junk science at its absolute worst..


201602.gif (990×765)

Greenland’s surface has gained 400 billion tons of ice since August. A real meltdown.

Screenshot 2016-03-17 at 07.36.13 PM

Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Budget: DMI

Arctic sea ice is essentially normal everywhere except for the Barents Sea.

N_daily_extent (5)  N_daily_extent.png (420×500)

The whole scam is a farce. It is like living in a Monty Python skit.

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