University of Illinois at Chicago

The Impact of the Oakland Sugar-sweetened Beverage Tax on Alternatives and Price Promotions

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posted on 2023-08-01, 00:00 authored by Osama Mohamed El-Sayed
This research examines the impact that the Oakland, California, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax had on noncalorically sweetened beverages (NSBs) and unsweetened beverages as well as on price promotions of SSBs. The first chapter analyzes the effects the Oakland SSB tax on the prices of NSBs and unsweetened beverages using Nielsen retail scanner data with event study and difference-in-differences (DID) estimation models. Sacramento was used as a comparison site. Overall, this study estimated that the prices of beverages increased by 0.60, 0.18, and 0.07 cents per ounce for SSBs, NSBs and unsweetened beverages, respectively, two-years post-tax implementation relative to changes in the comparison site. The second chapter analyzed the impact the Oakland SSB tax on volume sold of NSBs and unsweetened beverages using Nielsen retail scanner data with event study and DID models. Overall, this study estimated that relative to the comparison site of Sacramento, the volume sold of SSBs sold in Oakland decreased by 21 percent two-years post-implementation, while the estimates for the decrease in volume sold for NSBs and unsweetened beverages were not significant. These results provide evidence that the tax did not lead to an increased volume sold of beverages sweetened with artificial noncaloric sweeteners which may be of concern due to their potential negative health effects. The final chapter analyzed the impact of the Oakland SSB tax on price promotions using both Nielsen retail scanner data as well as store audit data. This study again used event study and DID approaches with Sacramento as a comparison site. Overall, this study found that the discount amount for SSBs increased post-tax implementation, with both datasets showing similar results. The results from the retail scanner data and store audit data showed changes in discount amounts of -0.35 and -0.39 cents per ounce, respectively. This suggests a pricing strategy by manufacturers to undermine the tax with increased depth of price promotions. Due to the concerns surrounding noncaloric sweetener consumption (particularly artificial sweeteners) and concerns of the role that price promotions have on obesogenic behavior, these studies provide evidence with important policy implications for SSB taxes that can help improve public health.



Powell, Lisa


Powell, Lisa


Public Health Sciences-Health Policy and Administration

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Dillender, Marcus Darbar, Dawood Federle, Michael LoSasso, Anthony

Submitted date

August 2023

Thesis type



  • en

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