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A new year, a new you? Within-individual variation in food purchases

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  • Cherchye, Laurens
  • De Rock, Bram
  • Griffith, Rachel
  • O’Connell, Martin
  • Smith, Kate
  • Vermeulen, Frederic

Abstract

We document that within-individual variation in food choices is substantial and has potentially important consequences for nutrition, and hence well-being. We develop an approach that allows us to study the determinants of this within-individual variation within an economic framework and allow for across-individual preference heterogeneity. We show that around one-fifth of within-individual fluctuations in diet quality is explained by standard economic variables (prices and budgets), along with advertising and weather. The residual fluctuations are important and are larger for lower income and younger people, and individuals who state they are impulsive. We propose a two-selves model of food purchase behavior to structurally interpret these empirical patterns. We use nonparametric revealed preference techniques to show that this model rationalizes our food purchase data.

Suggested Citation

  • Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Griffith, Rachel & O’Connell, Martin & Smith, Kate & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2020. "A new year, a new you? Within-individual variation in food purchases," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:127:y:2020:i:c:s0014292120301100
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103478
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Diet quality; Food purchases; Two-selves model; Collective model; Revealed preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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