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The effects of banning advertising in junk food markets

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There have been calls for restrictions on junk food advertising to tackle rising rates of obesity around the world. This column examines the likely effect of a ban on potato crisp advertising. Results suggest that the total quantity of crisps sold would fall by around 15% in the presence of a ban, or by 10% if firms respond with price cuts. The welfare benefits from this would depend on whether current advertising is persuasive, informative or complementary.

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Journal article | Review of Economic Studies
There are growing calls to restrict advertising of junk foods. Whether such a move will improve diet quality will depend on how advertising shifts consumer demands and how firms respond. We study an important and typical junk food market – the potato chips market.
Rachel Griffith explains the significance of her research, which was funded through the European Research Council.