Policy Process And Non-State Actors' Influence On The 2014 Mexican Soda Tax.
PMID: 32672333 DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czaa060.
In January 2014, Mexico introduced a soda tax of 1 Mexican Peso (MXP) per litre. The aim of this paper is to examine the political context out of which this policy emerged, the main drivers for the policy change, and the role of stakeholders in setting the policy agenda and shaping the policy design and outcomes. Thirty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders, and 145 documents, including peer-reviewed papers, policy briefs, press releases, industry, government, and CSO reports, were analysed. An iterative thematic analysis was conducted based on relevant theories of the policy process using a complementary approach, including Stages Heuristic Model, Policy Triangle Framework, and Multiple Streams Model. Results showed that a major motivation was the new administration seeking funds as they entered government. The soda tax was supported by a key group of legislators, civil society actors and by academics promoting evidence on health effects. However, the policy measure was challenged by the food and beverage industries (F&BI). Non-state actors were both formally and informally involved in setting the agenda, regardless of some of them having opposing interests on the soda tax policy. Approaches used by non-state actors to influence the agenda included: calls for action, marketing strategies, coalition building, challenging evidence, and engaging in public-private partnerships (PPPs). The effectiveness of the soda tax was highly debated and resulted in public polarization, although the framing of the outcomes was instrumental in influencing fiscal policies elsewhere. This study contributes to the debate around implementing fiscal policies for health and how power is exercised and framed in the agenda-setting phase of policy development. The article examines how the F&BI sought to influence the national strategy for obesity prevention. It argues that the experience of the soda tax campaign empowered policy advocates, strengthening national and international civil society networks.
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