Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Impatience, Incentives, and Obesity

Contents:

Author Info

  • Courtemanche, Charles

    ()
    (University of Louisville)

  • McAlvanah, Patrick

    ()
    (Federal Trade Commission)

  • Heutel, Garth

    ()
    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between time preferences, economic incentives, and body mass index (BMI). Using data from the 2006 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we first show that greater impatience increases BMI and the likelihood of obesity even after controlling for demographic, human capital, occupational, and financial characteristics as well as risk preference. Next, we provide evidence of an interaction effect between time preference and food prices, with cheaper food leading to the largest weight gains among those exhibiting the most impatience. The interaction of changing economic incentives with heterogeneous discounting may help explain why increases in BMI have been concentrated amongst the right tail of the distribution, where the health consequences are especially severe. Lastly, we model time-inconsistent preferences by computing individuals' quasi-hyperbolic discounting parameters (β and δ). Both long-run patience (δ) and present-bias (β) predict BMI, suggesting obesity is partly attributable to rational intertemporal tradeoffs but also partly to time inconsistency.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://bae.uncg.edu/assets/research/econwp/2011/11-09.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-9.

as in new window
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 24 Mar 2011
Date of revision: 28 Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2011_009

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Box 26165, Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
Phone: (336) 334-5463
Fax: (336) 334-4089
Web page: http://www.uncg.edu/bae/econ/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Obesity; weight; body mass index; time inconsistent; time inconsistency; hyperbolic discounting; present bias; self control; discount factor; discount rate; time preference; food prices;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104, February.
  2. McAlvanah, Patrick, 2010. "Subadditivity, patience, and utility: The effects of dividing time intervals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 325-337, November.
  3. David O. Meltzer & Zhuo Chen, 2009. "The Impact of Minimum Wage Rates on Body Weight in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 32-63, August.
  5. Michael Grossman & Naci H. Mocan, 2011. "Economic Aspects of Obesity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros09-1, October.
  6. Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "Longer Hours and Larger Waistlines? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity," Working Papers 09-2, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 12 Mar 2009.
  7. Christopher Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie Morris & Jonathon Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual laboratory-measured discount rates predict field behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-269, December.
  8. Eid, Jean & Overman, Henry G. & Puga, Diego & Turner, Matthew A, 2007. "Fat City: Questioning the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Courtemanche, Charles & Carden, Art, 2008. "Supersizing Supercenters? The Impact of Wal-Mart Supercenters on Body Mass Index and Obesity," Working Papers 09-3, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 29 Jan 2009.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2010. "Stability of Time Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 4756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Richard A. Dunn, 2010. "The Effect of Fast-Food Availability on Obesity: An Analysis by Gender, Race, and Residential Location," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1149-1164.
  13. Zhenxiang Zhao & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Effects of Urban Sprawl on Obesity," NBER Working Papers 15436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
  16. Courtemanche, Charles, 2009. "Rising cigarette prices and rising obesity: Coincidence or unintended consequence?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 781-798, July.
  17. Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Incentives, Commitments and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company," NBER Working Papers 18580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H., 2006. "Time discounting and the body mass index: Evidence from the Netherlands," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 39-61, January.
  19. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  20. Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity," Working Papers 09-1, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jan 2009.
  21. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor, 2007. "Predicting Health Behaviors with an Experimental Measure of Risk Preference," Working Papers 59, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  22. Garth Heutel, 2011. "Optimal Policy Instruments for Externality-Producing Durable Goods Under Time Inconsistency," NBER Working Papers 17083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry & Bishai, David, 2005. "Are time preference and body mass index associated?: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 259-270, July.
  24. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
  25. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
  26. Anderson, Michael L. & Matsa, David A., 2008. "Are restuarants really supersizing America?," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1056R4, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy, revised Jul 2010.
  27. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  31. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  32. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2012. "Understanding overeating and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 781-796.
  33. Andrew J. Plantinga & Stephanie Bernell, 2007. "The Association Between Urban Sprawl And Obesity: Is It A Two-Way Street?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-879.
  34. Marjorie K. Shelley, 1993. "Outcome Signs, Question Frames and Discount Rates," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(7), pages 806-815, July.
  35. Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf & Noemi Pace & Neeraj Sood, 2011. "Does Health Insurance Make You Fat?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 35-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2006. "Reply to Jonathan Gruber and Michael Frakes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 389-393, March.
  37. Charles L. Baum, 2009. "The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 3-19.
  38. Marco Percoco & Peter Nijkamp, 2009. "Estimating individual rates of discount: a meta-analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(12), pages 1235-1239.
  39. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Optimal Sin Taxes," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000346, UCLA Department of Economics.
  40. Komlos, John & Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry, 2003. "Obesity and the Rate of Time Preference: Is there a Connection?," Discussion Papers in Economics 60, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  41. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Kang, Myong-Il & Ohtake, Fumio, 2010. "Hyperbolic discounting, the sign effect, and the body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 268-284, March.
  42. 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.
  43. George F. Loewenstein, 1988. "Frames of Mind in Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(2), pages 200-214, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Charles J. Courtemanche & Daniela Zapata, 2012. "Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience," NBER Working Papers 17893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca, 2013. "Does Patience Matter for Marriage Stability? Some Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 7769, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Johnston, D.W.; & Lordan, G.;, 2012. "My body is fat and my wallet is thin: The link between weight perceptions, weight control and income," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. 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.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2011_009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Garth Heutel).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.