Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
This thesis seeks to evaluate the Mexican soda tax of 2014 by exploring the reasons for the tax and the underlying factors that the tax seems to ignore. This soda tax, in particular, was implemented to address obesity by curbing the consumption of sugary soft drinks due to the large quantities consumed by the Mexican populous. However, as this thesis shows there are some potential pitfalls in this type of obesity prevention policy. By exploring potable water data from the World Bank, the rural and urban noncommunicable disease rates of two Mexican states, and the penetration of levels of the OXXO convenience store in each state compared to the obesity rates, an understanding of what a soda tax may ignore has been discovered. The results from exploring this data reveal that Mexico significantly lags behind other countries in terms of access to completely safe water, and there appears to be some urban and rural divide, especially in terms of income. It also reveals that more urban areas are suffering from higher rates of weight related non-communicable diseases. Finally, the OXXO penetration level data demonstrates that high densities of convenience stores may be correlated with higher obesity rates. In general this data shows that soda taxes can help curb consumption. However, in terms of real measurable changes to the health of the country, overweight rates and health care expenditures are still on the rise. Simply put, the cheap alternative to soda, water, appears to not be completely accessible for all populations. Additionally, rural regions with less obesity that rely on soda as a water alternative may be negatively affected by the soda tax, and convenience stores that sell other highly calorically dense foods are still incredibly accessible to the population, especially in regions with high obesity rates. Furthermore, it appears that the tax revenue from the soda tax is not assisting in improving water infrastructure. For this reason, certain issues should be addressed by the government to ensure the tax is working effectively and equitably for all regions of the country.
Hager, Benjamin, "Soda, Water, and Convenience: an Evaluation of the Mexican Soda Tax" (2021). Honors Theses. 1620.
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