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What Explains Differences in Smoking, Drinking, and Other Health Related Behaviors

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  • Cutler, David
  • Glaeser, Edward
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    Abstract

    We explore economic model of health behaviors. While the standard economic model of health as an investment is generally supported empirically, the ability of this model to explain heterogeneity across individuals is extremely limited. Most prominently, the correlation of different health behaviors across people is virtually zero, suggest that standard factors such as variation in discount rates or the value of life are not the drivers of behavior. We focus instead on two other factors: genetics; and behavioral-specific situational factors. The first factor is empirically important, and we suspect the second is as well.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/2664274/cutler_smokingdrinking.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2664274.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Publication status: Published in American Economic Review
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2664274

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    Cited by:
    1. Brañas Garza, Pablo & Repollés Pro, María & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz, 2010. "Time discounting (delta) and pain anticipation: Experimental evidence," DFAEII Working Papers 2010-10, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    2. Ozdenoren, Emre & Salant, Stephen & Silverman, Dan, 2010. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Discussion Papers dp-10-35, Resources For the Future.
    3. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Shinsuke Ikeda & Kang Myong-Il & Fumio Ohtake, 2009. "Fat Debtors: Time Discounting, Its Anomalies, and Body Mass Index," ISER Discussion Paper 0732, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer & J. Niles Rosenquist & Janet Audrain-McGovern, 2006. "The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers," Working Papers 1045, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    6. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
    7. Dhaval Dave & Henry Saffer, 2007. "Risk Tolerance and Alcohol Demand Among Adults and Older Adults," NBER Working Papers 13482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dave, Dhaval & Saffer, Henry, 2008. "Alcohol demand and risk preference," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 810-831, December.
    9. Christopher H. Wheeler, 2007. "Human capital externalities and adult mortality in the U.S," Working Papers 2007-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    10. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.

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