Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


The objective of this study was to explain recent trends in per-capita butter and margarine consumption -primarily, to determine the relation between these trends and the repeal of legal restrictions on the distribution and consumption of margarine. As a first step in the study, a historical summary was made of pertinent state and federal laws. The effects of these laws then were determined by statistical analysis. In most cases the sample period was 1920-41, 1947-49.

In the time-series analysis, no relation was found between the retail supply of margarine and margarine excise taxes. This is understandable, since less than one-fifth of the population has ever lived in states which levied excises on margarine. The cross-section analyses of data by states and cities, however, show that excise taxes reduce the retail supply of margarine. They reduce the number of stores selling margarine and raise the prices charged by those stores that do sell it. On the other hand, margarine distributors' license fees seem to have no effect on the retail supply of margarine.



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