The role of low expectations in health and education investment and hazardous consumption
AbstractYoung people with little `social or health capital' may be more likely to take up hazardous consumption and shun investments in human capital, raising their likelihood of a `rags to rags' sequence. First, diminishing marginal utility could raise the marginal benefit of hazardous consumption and the cost of investment. But poor youths may also have lower expectations of future success, independent of the choices they make. Lower expectations of success could reduce the future cost of hazardous consumption and benefit of investment. We test the effect of expectations on decisions to smoke, drink hazardously, exercise, and complete high school, using a longitudinal study of youth in New Zealand. We find that 15-year-olds' expectations of success predict the subsequent onset of smoking, lack of exercise, and failure to complete high school, but not hazardous drinking. While some of the influence of expectations can be explained by low social and health capital, IQ, and other factors, expectations retain a direct effect on smoking and exercise once these other factors are controlled for.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.
Volume (Year): 39 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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Postal: Canadian Economics Association Prof. Steven Ambler, Secretary-Treasurer c/o Olivier Lebert, CEA/CJE/CPP Office C.P. 35006, 1221 Fleury Est Montréal, Québec, Canada H2C 3K4
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- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - General
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