Obesita’ e tasse. Perche’ serve l’educazione e non il fisco.

The title can be translated as “Obesity and taxation. Why it is necessary an education and not a taxation”
Massimiliano Trovato groups in this book for IBLLibri (the publishing entity of the Istituto Bruno Leoni) a series of contributes on the subject of the policies to solve the problem of a population that shows behaviors that put under pressure the public healthcare system.

The title references the policies against obesity as the core focus, but the book includes contributes that analyze also past and current policies aimed at stopping other personal behaviors (tobacco and alcohol consumption) that have a similar effect on the healthcare system but a longer history of policies aiming at stopping them.
In several cases the taxation had no measurable effect on the consumption of the undesired products and in some had negative effect not foreseen.

The authors of the contributes include: William Shughart II, Randall Holcombe, Gordon Tullock, Edward Glaeser, Richard Tiffin and Mattew Salois, Franco Sassi, Richard Williams and Katelyn Christ, Scott Drenkard, Alberto Alemanno and Ignacio Carreno.

Edward Glaeser essay on “Paternalism and psychology” deserves a special mention because the issue of the risks associated with use of soft paternalism are not limited to the specific subject of obesity and consumptions disincentives.
Soft paternalism is used more and more by the governments of the western world to shape the behavior of the population in all aspects of public and private life as it seems less invasive than hard paternalism, but it’s easily useable as a lock pick to ease the introduction of hard paternalism later down the road without facing a strong opposition.

I liked the entire book and recommend it.
Given the low quality of the cover is not a book that can witstand many reads: it’s one of the few cases when I’d suggest an electronic version instead of the printed one.