US Farm Subsidies and Obesity

  • Julian M. Alston
  • Abigail M. Okrent
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy book series (AEFP)


The idea that farm subsidies contribute significantly to obesity and that reducing these subsidies would go a long way toward solving the problem has been popular among the mainstream media and in policy circles. However, economists who have evaluated the issue have consistently found that farm subsidies have had negligible impacts on US obesity patterns. If anything, farm income support policies, including various subsidies and price supports, have made fattening food more expensive and reduced US obesity. New evidence from our updated economic simulation model reinforces that view and the conclusion that reformulation of farm subsidies would be ineffective and even counterproductive as a way of fighting US obesity.


Farm subsidies Farm programs Multimarket simulation model 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian M. Alston
    • 1
  • Abigail M. Okrent
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Food Economics DivisionUnited States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research ServiceWashingtonUSA

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