New South Wales


Lunchtime Seminar - A Mixed Bag: The Hidden Time Costs of Regulating Consumer Behavior


From: Thursday May 24, 2018, 12:30 pm

To: Thursday May 24, 2018, 2:00 pm

Abstract--The non-monetary costs consumers experience from price and quantity regulations are challenging to quantify, and thus easily overlooked. Using quasi-experimental policy variation and high-frequency supermarket data, I casually identify time costs of policies that ban and tax the use of disposable carryout bags (DCB). DCB policies cause a persistent 3% increase in average supermarket checkout duration. Moreover, DCB policies and their associated time costs disincentivize grocery shopping, with supermarkets in regulated jurisdictions experiencing a 1.6% drop in sales.  The results highlight trade-offs between convenient and environmentally-friendly behaviors in healthy food acquisition, and show ignoring non-monetary costs overstates welfare gains from policy-induced behavioral change.

Biography--Rebecca Taylor is a lecturer in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney. Dr. Taylor's expertise lies in consumer behavior, food policy, and environmental economics. With public concern over reducing pollution and health care costs, policymakers often turn to economic interventions to change how consumers consume (e.g., taxes, bans, and advisory campaigns). Dr. Taylor's work asks whether these policies are effective tools for changing behavior, whether they displace consumption in unintended ways, and how they interact with issues of equity. Dr. Taylor holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from Washington & Lee University. 


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Reserve Bank of Australia

65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

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