The Nanny State Index 2016

Posted by in Knjige 31 Mar 2016

This is the first edition of the Nanny State Index, a league table of the worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape. The Nanny State Index is an initiative from the European Policy Information Center (EPICENTER). The Visio Institute is among collaborators of the index.

The Nanny State Index consists of three main categories: alcohol, nicotine and diet. Each of the three categories is weighted equally at 33.3 per cent. Nicotine is subdivided into tobacco and e-cigarettes, each with an equal weighting within that category, meaning that they both have a weighting of 16.66 per cent overall.

Nanny State Index 2016

Each category has a number of different criteria. Points are scored for each criteria and are then weighted and combined to reach the final score. The Nanny State Index is concerned with policies that have an adverse impact on consumers. Policies are given different weights to reflect the extent to which consumers are negatively affected, from relatively minor inconveniences to heavy taxes or outright prohibition.

Paternalistic policies typically reduce the individual’s quality of life in one or more of the following ways:
– raising prices prices (through taxation or retail monopolies)
– stigmatising consumers
– restricting choice
– inconveniencing consumers
– limiting information (with advertising bans)
– reducing product quality

The Index includes any policy that is designed to deter consumption of legal products. The criteria for each category and their weightings are shown on the pages for alcohol, e-cigarettes, food and soft drinks, and tobacco.

All data reflects the legal status on 1 January 2016 to the best of our knowledge. From May 2016, members states will have to abide by a new Tobacco Products Directive which will standardise much of the regulation of tobacco and e-cigarettes. The next edition of the Index will be adjusted to account for this regulatory change.

Do Nanny State policies work?

Most of the taxes, laws and regulations covered in the Nanny State Index (NSI) were introduced on grounds of ‘public health’. To see whether they work, we have compared NSI scores with health outcomes. As the graph below shows, the big picture is that there is no correlation between nanny state regulation and higher life expectancy.
Life Expectancy and NSI
Drilling down into the data, we can see that there is also no correlation between heavy regulation of alcohol and lower rates of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol Consumption and NSI
And there is also no correlation between nanny state anti-smoking policies and lower smoking rates.
Smoking Rates and NSI
A similar analysis for obesity is not possible as few countries currently have heavy regulation of food and soft drinks. We have not attempted an analysis of e-cigarette laws as it is unclear what governments are trying to achieve when they over-regulate this product.

Nanny State Index, Partners
Nanny State Index, Collaborators

Post a comment