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Applying Experimental Economics to Obesity in the Family Household


  • Ehmke, Mariah D.
  • Warziniack, Travis
  • Schroeter, Christiane
  • Morgan, Kari


The objective of this study is to identify experimental economic tools that can be employed to explain the role of economic behavior in overweight and obesity in the household. We identify three economic experiments that can be used to understand how parent-child economic relationships relate to obesity. Loss aversion experiments are discussed as a tool to understand challenges some individuals face in achieving a healthy diet. Finally, testbed experiments are introduced as a means to test and understand new policies and incentives for better health at the household level.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehmke, Mariah D. & Warziniack, Travis & Schroeter, Christiane & Morgan, Kari, 2008. "Applying Experimental Economics to Obesity in the Family Household," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 40(02), August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:joaaec:47198

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata & Duke, Charlotte, 2003. "A laboratory study of auctions for reducing non-point source pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 446-471, November.
    2. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Ruben Durante & Louis Putterman & Joël Weele, 2014. "Preferences For Redistribution And Perception Of Fairness: An Experimental Study," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1059-1086, August.
    5. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    6. Cason, Timothy N, 1995. "An Experimental Investigation of the Seller Incentives in the EPA's Emission Trading Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 905-922, September.
    7. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    8. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
    9. Cherry, Todd L. & Crocker, Thomas D. & Shogren, Jason F., 2003. "Rationality spillovers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 63-84, January.
    10. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher, 2006. "Reading, Writing, and Refreshments: Are School Finances Contributing to Children’s Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hu, Wuyang & Woods, Timothy & Bastin, Sandra & Cox, Linda & You, Wen, 2011. "Assessing Consumer Willingness to Pay for Value-Added Blueberry Products Using a Payment Card Survey," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 243-258, May.
    2. Silva, Andres & Etilé, Fabrice & Jamet, Gaelle, 2013. "Consequences of the Five-a-Day Campaign: Evidence from French Panel Data," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150426, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Silva, Andres & Garcia, Marian & Bailey, Alastair, 2012. "The Impact of Child Obesity News on Household Food Expenditure in the United Kingdom," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 123526, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Ehmke, Mariah D. & Willson, Tina M. & Schroeter, Christiane & Hart, Ann Marie & Coupal, Roger H., 2009. "Obesity Economics for the Western United States," Western Economics Forum, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 8(02).

    More about this item


    carrot stick; child obesity; discount rate; generosity; loss aversion; parent-child; punishment; trust; Agribusiness; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; I19; Q18; D01; D63;

    JEL classification:

    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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