Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 57–71 | Cite as

Nudging healthy food consumption and sustainability in food deserts

  • Cam Hebda
  • Jeffrey WagnerEmail author
Original Paper


The purpose of this paper is to set forth a theoretical model of consumer decision-making in food desert regions, where healthy food is in short supply. Our model enables theoretical comparison of multiple policy approaches to mitigating food deserts that have heretofore been considered separately: taxing less healthy food, subsidizing healthier food, correcting misperceptions of the cost of food choices, and subsidizing creation of community and home gardens. This latter policy approach enables consumers to achieve higher rates of food security and health benefits, while strengthening the sustainability and resiliency of local urban ecological-economic systems.


Consumer misperception Food desert Food security  Sustainable agriculture Urban gardens 

JEL Classification

I14 Health and Inequality R58 Regional Development: Planning and Policy  Q56 Environment and Development; Sustainability; Environmental Equity 



We thank Editor Henk Folmer and two anonymous reviewers for several comments and suggestions that improved our paper. We also thank Professor Amit Batabyal; session participants at the 2013 New York State Economics Association annual meeting (particularly our discussant, Professor Wisdom Akpalu); and session participants at the 2014 Midwest Economics Association annual meeting (particularly our discussant, Roy Wada) for comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Golisano Institute for SustainabilityRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

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