Peter Sinclair Town Hall: Rachel Griffith (IFS/ Uni of Manchester)

Online event - Zoom
Wednesday 24 March 2021 (16:00-17:00)

Rebecca McDonald (

Government around the world are getting more and more involved with telling consumers what they can and can’t eat as they grappling with rising rates of obesity.

Some people believe that the government should mind its own business and let consumers decide for themselves what they eat. Others argues that consumers need protection from themselves and from outside temptation.

In the UK children living in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to be obese compared to those in the least deprived areas. This differences can have long term consequences for health as well as social and economic outcomes. Policies such as taxes on junk foods, restrictions to the availability and advertising of foods, nutritional labelling and regulation to encourage firms to reformulate products aims to encourage a healthier diet, but these policies have sometimes proved controversial. In this lecture Rachel will discuss what different types of policies aimed at reducing obesity might achieve in terms of reduce long-run inequalities in health, social and economic outcomes.

There will be the opportunity to ask questions at the end (or submit questions in advance to

This event is available via Zoom. It is the fourth Peter Sinclair Town Hall lecture hosted by the Department of Economics at the University of Birmingham.

About the speaker

Rachel Griffith is Research Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester. Her work tries to answer questions such as how can government policy help people make better food choices and how can policy promote prosperity while also protecting the most vulnerable in society. She was recently made a Dame for services to economic policy and education.

About the lecture series

The Peter Sinclair Town Hall lecture series features world class economists presenting their research and its real world implications to an audience of academic economists, economics students, and the wider community. The lectures are diverse in topic but united in that they bring the lens of economics to real world issues, demonstrating how economics can be both useful and a force for good in understanding and shaping the world. The lecture series is inspired by and commemorates Emeritus Professor Peter Sinclair, whose breadth of knowledge, curiosity, and kindness inspired his students and colleagues immeasurably.