Centre for Rural Economy

Elena Benedetti

Elena Benedetti

Implications of carbon policies on the quality of UK diets

Email: E.Benedetti2@newcastle.ac.uk

Supervisors: Dr. Luca Panzone, Prof John Wildman, Emeritus Prof Chris Seal

Project overview

There is an increasing support for the idea of regulating food markets to reduce the current environmental impact of diets.

For instance, food prices could be increased by a carbon tax that incorporates the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission associated with their production.

However, environmental impact and nutrition are not perfect substitutes. While fresh fruits and vegetables are low in fats and have lower GHG emissions compared with red meat, they can be low in other essential nutrients (e.g. proteins, iron).

Thus a diet which has a lower associated GHG emission may still be nutritionally imbalanced.

This project seeks to extend our present understanding of food policies by exploring the link between environmental regulation of food markets and the nutritional quality of the resulting diets.

The main research questions are:

  • Is environmental regulation of food markets (specifically a carbon tax) invariant to the nutritional content of diets? Or does it improve/damage the quality?
  • Can we measure the impact of this tax on the quality of a diet as well as the decrease in probability of occurrence of a disease?

In addition, this study will analyse the impact of this environmental policy on the import of food products to the UK, to determine changes in availability.

This doctoral project uses modern econometric methods for policy analysis. In particular, it estimates structural demand models, whose parameters are then used to micro-simulate relevant policy interventions from existing secondary datasets (Living Cost and Food Survey; Health Survey for England; Eurostat).