PEN workshop

Hybrid workshop and conference:

Quantifying the impact of food and lifestyle policies: Challenges, perspectives and synergies in the identification of causal effects and model-based simulations,
Within the activities of the PEN workpackage 3 Estimation and simulation of policy impact, a workshop  took place from 6th to 8th September 2021 at the Rimini Campus of the University of Bologna.  This 3-day event was structure as follows:

Day 1. Internal project meeting (only for PEN partners)

Day 2. International workshop

Day 3. Presentation of project findings to the PEN community and invited guests

Day 1 (6 September 2021) – Internal meeting of WP3 Estimation and simulation of policy impact. The meeting had the goal to provide an update on the workpackage status and provide a planning of activities until the end of the project. The group considered the expected final outputs of the project, specifically the development of recommendations for policy evaluators and final users (e.g. policy makers) based on the research of this work package.

Day 2 (7 September 2021) – International workshop. The aim of the international workshop was to discuss challenges, differences and synergies of different approach for policy impact quantification: simulation models, quasi-experimental methods, and virtual and field experiments.

The workshop consisted of 6 presentations by external speakers and 4 contributions by PEN researchers.

  1. New approaches to food taxation: design and evaluation challenges

          Franco Sassi (Imperial College, London) See slides here

  1. Simulating policy-effects through structural demand models: Achievements and challenges

          Pierre Dubois (Toulouse School of Economics) See slides here

  1. When (and how much) can we trust quasi-experimental evaluations of policies?

          David Frisvold (University of Iowa) See slides here

  1. Model-based simulation of the evolution of the cost-of-living in Italy

          Federico Perali (University of Verona) See slides here

  1. Evaluating dietary policies with simulation models: overview and challenges

          Karl Emmert-Fees , Michael Laxy (Technical University, Munich, PEN partners) See slides here

  1. Experiments on purchasing behaviours: a comparison between a “lab” virtual store and a field supermarket

          Laurent Muller (INRAE, Grenboble Applied Economics Lab, PEN partner) See slides here

  1. Simulating the effects of price changes on the demand of SSBs in Italy

          Giulia Tiboldo , Daniele Moro (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, PEN partners) See slides here

  1. Some technical challenges in predicting demand response to SSB taxes

          Beatrice Biondi, Sara Capacci, Mario Mazzocchi (University of Bologna, PEN partners) See slides here

  1. Models to inform public decision making: Issues and good practices

          Annalisa Belloni (World Health Organization) See slides here

  1. Closing considerations on the quantification of policy impacts

          Timothy Beatty (University of California, Davis)

See profiles of external speakers below

Day 3 (8 September 2021) – Presentation of WP3 findings to the PEN community. The last day of the workshop was devoted to presentation of the WP3 activities to the PEN consortium. The presentations followed the WP3 structures:

  1. Framework for judgements on the quality of evaluations (Sub-task 3.1.1)

         Lukas Schwingshackl (Freiburg University)

  1. Experimental approaches and ex-ante evaluations (Sub-task 3.1.2)

         Laurent Muller (INRA, Grenoble Applied Economics Lab)

  1. Quasi-experimental methods for ex-post evaluations on observational data (Sub-task 3.1.3)

         Sara Capacci (University of Bologna)

  1. The direct health economic dimensions of policy impacts (Sub-task 3.2.1)

         Karl Emmert-Fees (Technical University Munich)

  1. The indirect health economic dimensions of policy impacts (Sub-task 3.2.2)

         Giulia Tiboldo (Catholic University, Piacenza) and Beatrice Biondi (University of Bologna)

  1. Statistical modelling and simulation of the epidemiological impact of policies (Task 3.3)

         and Tobias Niedermaier (German Cancer Research Center)

See the original programm at the dedicated website here.

Results of the workshop were summarized in an internal report for compliance with the project duties. This report can be made available upon request. Please contact the Project Office:

External speakers profiles (alphabetically)

Tim Beatty (University of California, Davis)

Tim Beatty is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis and a former co-Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Prior to joining UC Davis, Tim held faculty positions at the Universities of Minnesota, York and British Columbia. Tim works on the economics of food, nutrition and health. His research relates to the empirical analysis of consumption behavior, in particular as it relates to health outcomes. His work tends to focus on modeling food consumption and the demand for nutrition and health at both the household and aggregate levels.

Annalisa Belloni (World Health Organization)

Annalisa Belloni is Health Economist at the World Health Organization, formerly Senior Health Economist in Public Health England, where she had been working since 2016. Annalisa has a long history in health economics and health policy analysis to inform decision makers at a local, national and international level. Prior to joining Public Health England, Annalisa spent around six years at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where she worked on the Economics of Prevention programme and particularly on the analysis of the role of fiscal measures in health promotion as well as on pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies. Annalisa has a Master’s degree in Economics and Management of Health Care Organizations from the Catholic University of Rome (Italy).

Pierre Dubois (Toulouse School of Economics)

Pierre Dubois is professor of Economics at TSE, fellow of the CEPR and of the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. His work includes research on industrial organization, demand models, household behavior, health and pharmaceuticals, food demand, development economics and applied econometrics. He has been published in economics journals such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, the RAND Journal of Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of the European Economic Association, the International Journal of Industrial Organization, the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Labor Economics. Pr. Dubois received his PhD in economics from EHESS Paris, has been assistant professor at the University of Montréal, has held visiting positions at Berkeley and Northwestern University and has been Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 2015 and 2019-2020. He has also been Managing Editor of the International Journal of Industrial Organization from 2013 to 2018, Scientific Director of the Toulouse School of Economics during 2015-2019 and is currently associate editor of the European Economic Review and Co-Editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association (2021).

David Frisvold (University of Iowa)

David E. Frisvold is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of Social and Education Policy Research in the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa. He is a NBER Research Associate and IZA Research Fellow. Professor Frisvold’s research interests are health economics and the economics of education. His research examines whether and how public policies influence health and outcomes outcomes, with a particular focus on policies targeted towards children. 

His research has been published in a variety of leading economics journals and has been funded by various institutes and organizations including the NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, University of California Davis Center for Poverty Research, and Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin. He is currently a co-editor at the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and an associate editor at Economics and Human Biology.

Prior to joining Iowa in 2013, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan until 2008 and an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Emory University until 2013. He received his B.S. in Mathematical Economics from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. in Economics from Vanderbilt University.


Carlo Federico Perali (University of Verona)

Federico Perali is a Full Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Verona where teaches Political Economy and Development Economics. He earned a Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been principal investigator of several research projects related to the estimation of the cost of children, poverty and inequality, the intra-household allocation of resources, child labor, micro-macro relations within general equilibrium models, household enterprises, juvenile crime, quality of life of people with disabilities, economics of education and family economics. He is the author of many international publications and books.

Franco Sassi (Imperial College, London)

Franco Sassi holds a Chair in International Health Policy and Economics and is the Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation. He is also a Senior Health Economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD, Paris (on leave) - where he developed and was responsible for the Organisation's Public Health Programme. His work has been aimed at assessing the impacts of public policies to tackle major chronic diseases and their predisposing risk factors, including poor nutrition, physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a range of environmental and social exposures. He is the author and editor of a large number of publications on economic aspects of public health, including the books “Obesity and the economics of prevention: Fit not fat”, in 2010, and "Tackling harmful alcohol use: Economics and public health policy" in 2015. Prior to joining the OECD, Franco was a senior lecturer in health policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and director of the graduate programme in Health Policy, Planning and Financing. Franco obtained his doctorate in health economics from the University of London. The overarching theme of his research and publications has been the evaluation of health interventions. He held an adjunct professor position at the Université de Montréal, as well as visiting positions at a number of universities in the United States, including University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, University of California at San Francisco, and Duke University, and at the Catholic University of Rome. He was awarded a 2000-01 Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy by the Commonwealth Fund.



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