UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Becca Taylor

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

Date and Location

Monday, April 9, 2018, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


The non-monetary costs facing consumers from price and quantity regulations are often challenging to quantify, and thus easily overlooked. Using quasi-experimental policy variation and supermarket scanner data, I identify time costs of policies that ban and tax the use of disposable carryout bags (DCB). I show that DCB policies cause a persistent 3% increase in average checkout duration. Additionally, 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.

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