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A rational eating model of binges, diets and obesity

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  • Dragone, Davide

Abstract

This paper addresses the rapid diffusion of obesity and the existence of different individual patterns of food consumption between non-dieters and chronic dieters. I propose a rational eating model where a forward-looking agent optimizes the intertemporal satisfaction from eating, taking into account the cost of changing consumption habits and the negative health consequences of having a non-optimal body weight. Consistent with the evidence, I show that the intertemporal maximization problem leads to a condition of overweightness, and that heterogeneity in the individual relevance of habits in consumption can determine the observed differences in the individual intertemporal patterns of food consumption and body weight. Sufficient conditions for determining when the convergence to the steady state implies oscillations or is monotonic are given. In the former case, the agent optimally alternates diets and binges until the steady state is reached, in the latter a regular intertemporal pattern of food consumption is optimal.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 799-804

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:4:p:799-804

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

Related research

Keywords: Body Weight Food consumption Habits Optimal control Oscillations;

References

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  1. Boyer, Marcel, 1983. "Rational demand and expenditures patterns under habit formation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 27-53, October.
  2. D. Dragone, 2009. "On the non existence of cyclical food-consumption patterns in a model of non-addictive eating," Working Papers 663, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Pollak, Robert A, 1970. "Habit Formation and Dynamic Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 745-63, Part I Ju.
  4. Ryder, Harl E, Jr & Heal, Geoffrey M, 1973. "Optimum Growth with Intertemporally Dependent Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-33, January.
  5. Feichtinger, Gustav & Novak, Andreas & Wirl, Franz, 1994. "Limit cycles in intertemporal adjustment models : Theory and applications," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 353-380, March.
  6. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  7. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  8. Boyer, Marcel, 1978. "A Habit Forming Optimal Growth Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(3), pages 585-609, October.
  9. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
  10. Pollak, Robert A., 1976. "Habit formation and long-run utility functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 272-297, October.
  11. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Amnon Levy, 2011. "Physiological, Gastronomic and Budgetary Aspects and the Diets of Perfectly and Imperfectly Lifetime-Rational Consumers," Economics Working Papers wp11-13, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  2. D. Dragone & F. Manaresi & L. Savorelli, 2013. "Obesity and smoking: can we catch two birds with one tax?," Working Papers wp873, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Liu, Yaqin & Ferreira, Susana & Colson, Gregory & Wetzstein, Michael, 2013. "Obesity and Counseling," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149947, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Davide Dragone & Luca Savorelli, 2010. "Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 017, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Rhodes, Charles, 2012. "A Dynamic Model of Failure to Maximize Utility in the Chronic Consumer Choice to Consume Foods High in Added Sugars," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124693, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Amnon Levy, 2011. "An Integrative Model of Rational Diet and Physical Activity: Physiological, Gastronomic and Budgetary Aspects," Economics Working Papers wp11-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  7. Pedro Gomis Porqueras & Solmaz Moslehi & Richard M. H. Suen, 2013. "Endogenous Health in a Model of Calories, Medical Services and Health Shocks," Economics Series 2013_4, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.

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