The contribution of Western fast food to fast-growing body mass in China

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied Economics, 2017, 49 (8), pp. 797 - 811
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The westernization of Asian countries has led to the rapid expansion of Western-style fast-food restaurants, which are believed to be fueling an unprecedented rise in body mass in these countries. This study tests this belief using longitudinal data from China. Exploiting the opening of a Western-style fast-food restaurant in a particular community, we conduct a transition analysis to make a more convincing causal interpretation than the standard cross-sectional or fixed-effects approach. Considering several measures of fatness, we find no robust evidence of Western fast food having a substantial effect overall, but there is some indication of effect heterogeneity.
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