A Mexican sugary drink tax of one peso ($0.05) per liter has resulted in the loss of around 10,800 jobs yet done little to curb consumption, according to a study presented by the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon's Center for Economic Research.
"The tax has been ineffective because it hasn't reduced the consumption of non-alcoholic drinks, and on top of that there are the 10,800 jobs we have no way of recovering," Laura Zuñiga, who analyzed household spending trends for the study, said.
The sugary drink industry accounts for 1.1 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product (GDP) and offers well-paid jobs, said Daniel Flores, an economist who also participated in the study, which analyzed data from 2014 and 2015.
The experts found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in Mexico declined by just 15 milliliters (0.5 ounces) per day and sales of those sugary drinks fell by only 3 percent.
Per-capita sugary drink consumption in Mexico amounts to between 350 milliliters (12 ounces) and 500 milliliters (17 ounces) per day, according to the National Statistics Institute, or INEGI.
"Consumption is not very price sensitive. Consumers don't stop buying sugary drinks," Flores said.
Consumers in Mexico take in an average of 3,024 calories a day, according to the World Health Organization, or 1,024 more than the commonly recommended level for a healthy daily diet.
Furthermore, the tax has not had an impact on Mexico's overweight and obesity problem but has had an adverse effect on the economy, the study, presented on Tuesday, said.
It also is a regressive tax, according to the study, which noted that the country's poorest households, which spend 3 percent of their budgets on sugar-sweetened beverages, compared to 1.1 percent for the highest-income households, had been hardest hit.
The Mexican government took in 18 billion pesos ($947 million) in revenue in the first year after the tax went into effect in January 2014, the experts say.