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“Who’s Afraid of the Nanny State?” Rogan Kersh Wake Forest University, USA April 2014 Of Nannies and Nudges: Current State of Obesity Policymaking.

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Presentation on theme: "“Who’s Afraid of the Nanny State?” Rogan Kersh Wake Forest University, USA April 2014 Of Nannies and Nudges: Current State of Obesity Policymaking."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Who’s Afraid of the Nanny State?” Rogan Kersh Wake Forest University, USA April 2014 Of Nannies and Nudges: Current State of Obesity Policymaking

2 Plan of Presentation O ‘Nanny State’: pejorative frame O Extended case study: Obesity politics/policy O State responses O Retreat: Laissez-faire O Submerge: Invisible policies O Divert: Libertarian-paternalist nudges O Advance: Use state’s coercive powers O Reframe: Emphasize ‘nanny’ positives

3 Obesity: Policy Issue?

4 1998 Slow-Motion Epidemic 2010 1990 No Data <10% 10–14% 15–19% 20–24% 25–29% ≥30%

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7 Philosophically familiar  “Consumer sovereignty”: frequent US variant Obesity-politics context: personal responsibility  Dominant US Political Frame: 2000-06  Still powerful: Lusk/Ellison (2013) Laissez-Faire State

8 What Causes Obesity? (US, 2013)

9 Philosophically familiar  “Consumer sovereignty”: frequent US variant Obesity-politics context: personal responsibility  Dominant US Political Frame: 2000-06  Still powerful: Lusk/Ellison (2013)  Competitor, 2007-present: toxic food environment Laissez-Faire State

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11 Obesity: 2 Primary Frames Personal Responsibility – Dominant, 2000 to ~2006 “Toxic Food Environment” – Increasing post-’06 More Subtle Variations in recent years 8 oz: 1970s 12 oz: 1980s 16 oz: late 80s 20 oz: 1990s 34 oz: 2000s Average Soda Size, USA: 1970s-Today

12 Typical Sandwich Size, USA 19802013 320 calories Difference: 535 calories How many calories are in this turkey sandwich? 855 calories How long would you have to bike to burn 535 calories? How to burn 535 calories: Bike for 1 hour 32 minutes

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14 Philosophically familiar Obesity-politics context: personal responsibility  Dominant US Political Frame: 2000-06  Still powerful: Lusk/Ellison (2013)  Competitor, 2007-present: toxic food environment Laissez-Faire State

15 Submerged State: Mettler (2012), builds on others Obesity-politics example: Reformulation Submerged State

16 Psychological State Libertarian Paternalism: Thaler & Sunstein Canvass of Behavioral Changes: Jones et. al. Obesity-Politics example: Menu Calorie Labeling

17 Menu Calorie Labeling

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20 Our Evaluation Study Does NYC labeling influence fast-food choices of individuals in low-income areas? “Difference-in-Difference” Examine calories purchased before/after labeling, in NYC & control city (Newark, NJ) 2 NYC Studies, 2008: Adults and Children Follow-up, 2011: Philadelphia (Baltimore/control)

21 No differences seen in response to labeling by: Race/Ethnicity Age Sex Education “Noticed Info” Results: Calories Purchased

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23 But What If…

24 ACA/“Obamacare”

25 Active (Coercive?) State US: interest-group politics (PRFC Act) Elsewhere: more legislative success Which polic(ies) to choose under constraints?  Impact/Feasibility Studies Ireland, 2009 obesity-policy recs (as of 2013)

26 Nanny State…Reframed Pejorative… …to Positive: Shift Political Culture US: Millennials/Gen Y

27  Unusual ‘peer networks’  Highly adult-supervised/curated lives  Responsive to vital cultural messages/change


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