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Summary

-National statistics collected monthly and quarterly on unemployment overall and employment by sector were analyzed for the impact of the tax to non-alcoholic beverages with added sugar and the 8% ad valorem tax to nonessential food

-There was no decrease in total employment following the introduction of these two taxes in the manufacturing sector for beverages and nonessential foods.

-Employment in commercial stores selling food and beverages did not decrease after the two taxes were implemented

-Unemployment rates in the country did not increase after the taxes were implemented.

Introduction

Starting in January 2014, Mexico implemented two taxes: an excise tax of 1 Mexican peso per liter to all non-alcoholic beverages with added sugar and an ad valorem tax of 8% was implemented to nonessential foods with more than 275 kilocalories per 100 grams, such as chocolates, snacks, candies and ice cream.

As in the case of other taxes, e.g. tobacco and alcohol, concerns that a reduction in the demand can lead to job losses may emerge. This note summarizes analyses of changes in employment associated with the implementation of the sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) and nonessential energy dense food taxes in three sectors: 1) employment in the industry that manufactures SSB and nonessential energy dense food, 2) employment in the commercial sector that sells food and beverages and 3) unemployment rates in the country. For each component (employment overall and by sector and unemployment), the note summarizes unadjusted trends in employment and then presents changes in employment associated with the taxes from statistical analyses that adjusts for several factors that are associated with changes in employment such as population levels, economic activity and wage rates, and seasonality.

Employment in the SSB and energy dense food industry (1)

Unadjusted monthly data from 2007 to 2015 shows a decreasing trend in number of employees in the SSB manufacturing industry that flattens close to 2014, the time the tax was initiated. Since sales did not decrease before the SSB tax was implemented, this decreasing trend suggests increases in productivity. An analysis adjusting for several factors associated with changes in employment show a small statistically significant increase in number of employees after the tax was implemented. However, this was a very small increase, not associated with the implementation of the tax.

For energy dense food, the number of employees remained stable since 2007 with a small reduction since 2013, again before the tax was instituted. Adjusted analyses show no significant reductions in employment in this industry.

Employment in the commercial sector(2)

In commercial stores selling food and beverages, monthly-unadjusted data show an increasing trend in the number of employees. Adjusted analyses show a small increase in the number of employees after the taxes were implemented. This marginal increase is not associated with the taxes.

Unemployment rates in the country(3)

Unemployment rates in Mexico increased between 2005 and 2011 and started to decline thereafter. Adjusted analyses show a very small reduction in unemployment rates after 2014 that cannot be attributed to the taxes.

Conclusion

The analyses described in this note show that there were no reductions in the number of employees neither in the SSB or energy dense food manufacturing industry nor in the commercial establishments in Mexico after the taxes were implemented. Moreover, unemployment rates in the country did not increase after the implementation of the taxes.
The analyses presented in this note will be submitted to a peer reviewed journal.


REFERENCES

  1. Own estimations using the Monthly Surveys of the Manufacturing Industry 2007-2015, National Institute of Statistics and Geography.
  2. Own estimations using the Monthly Surveys of the Commercial Establishments 2011-2015, National Institute of Statistics and Geography.
  3. Own estimation using the National Occupation Survey 2005-2015, National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

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