Free trade agreements and world obesity

Michele Baggio, Alberto Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We study the causal link between trade openness via free trade agreements (FTAs) and obesity rates. When applying a difference-in-differences approach by exploiting the year a country entered a free trade agreement with the United States during the period 1990–2016. We find a positive and causal impact of FTAs on obesity rates, which are statistically and economically significant. We show that our findings are robust to placebo tests, the use of synthetic control methods, and a maximized sample. Furthermore, we show that when using an event studies approach the equal trends assumption holds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-49
Number of pages20
JournalSouthern Economic Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • differences-in-differences
  • free trade
  • obesity
  • sugar
  • synthetic controls


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