« Freakonomics Radio

61. Does This Recession Make Me Look Fat?

2012-02-08 | 🔗
A look at some non-obvious ways to lose weight.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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as for economics, radio, on marketplace, here's the host of Marketplace- I really don T, know if a little butter. Can I make radio that moment in the broadcast every couple of weeks where we talk to Stephen under the co author of the books and the blog of the same name, it is the hidden side of everything and doubly you know, and I am especially glad to have you back this week in a while, I know. Why do I don't? U sentiments of the ILO it when you send me by saying yes, we can wait. I am a benevolent kind. I felt so go ahead. Gaia, open up your back here again, it's a little bubble, rap on bloke within our globe, inside fearful careful with ok. So It's back marbles might end. I don't smoke, do believe it or not. I'm trying to help me stay trim. Aren't I
I want you to listen to keep the Scuse whose an economist Vanderbilt who studies smoking are well. One thing is there if you give up smoking he'll gain some weight made up enough to make you morbidly obese boodle make your little heavier knighted. Here's enzyme It is the unintended consequences of giving you are learning friend, but a cell, in doing this segment couple, but you're dead. Now, so I'm glad our smoking re in this country has been falling dramatically, which is fantastic news, but there's a hidden side too, that it worth everything now listen. I am not saying that smoking is a good way to fight wake and let me be clear: it is not, and smoking is bad for you there. But this is an instructive lesson about tradeoffs, because I want to talk today about another week, related tradeoff having to do with our economy so Qaeda. Let me ask you this question: what do you think that the great recession has done to our collective waistline yoga
when I got my God, it's a bad thing right, because people are going to have a dialogue for the dollar when they start right, I'm getting we're getting factor. That is a fantastic guess. And you may, you might even be right- and you certainly with you I'm wrong, but anyway usually orbit. Some research suggests that you may be right, but there's other research than suggests the opposite. So let me play the opposite. Here's Christopher Room, whose an economist at the University of Virginia, what we ve learned over the last decade or so, was an initially surprising fact that when times are bad, people get healthier over many dimensions and one of those appears to be a big city so that, for example, my income is down, I dont go out to eat is often and meals eat. Now the home are probably less healthy and more caloric makes sense on its face, but I'm still not convinced well
Now here's the thing obesity is one of those problems has a lot of different causes right and not all of them are obvious. You were right to focus on the relationship between dollars in calories. That is incredibly important. To consider. I mean think about this. For the vast majority of human civilization, it was a big struggle for us to provide enough affordable calories for everyone, but over the past few generations we have gotten a very, very good, particularly rich nations like ours, at making calories abundant and delicious and cheap them gets have given us exactly what we wanted, and now we are dealing with a side effect wild so are using than we should intervene in the markets and make those calories more expensive. I mean well the look, I'm
I'm not intervene or kind of guide, but that's right, questioned ass. Let's go back your cigarettes, hasn't cocaine and talk about how the incentives work or that pack I sent you costly, better, not twelve, but here in your way, really about half of that whose taxes now economist generally agree that cigarette taxes have helped drive down smoking. So if you raise the price of cigarettes, a little bit, consumption falls, and that is why, if you wanna talk about obesity, now some people like the idea of a fat tax which is a tax on fat foods, not fat people by the way and there they ve, tried this in Denmark and Hungary and there's some talk of trying it here. Yeah bad debts, never gonna fly right. It is a classic regressive tax. It would hit harder low income people than high income peep, which makes it tough. Another tough cell is to change the food subsidies coming at Washington right, so there's billions of subsidy dollars that now go to corn and wheat and saw none of which are bad enough themselves. But
products of those get turned into very, very, very cheap additives in junk food? So one argument is that we should shift those subsidies toward things like you know: fruits and vegetables, so it's cheaper healthier. Would such rights owed so to me very like them, you sent me something you make it fruits, vegetables or beer actually would be good to have. You got any light period now not live here. That's all mothers, exit, Stephen Hubner friction have extra gum. Is the website is back in a couple of weeks, see my pleasure. I thank you.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-16.