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Predicting health behaviors with an experimental measure of risk preference

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  • Anderson, Lisa R.
  • Mellor, Jennifer M.

Abstract

We conduct a large-scale economics experiment paired with a survey to examine the association between individual risk preference and health-related behaviors among adults aged 18-87 years. Risk preference is measured by the lottery choice experiment designed by Holt and Laury [Holt, C.A., Laury, S.K., 2002. Risk aversion and incentive effects. The American Economic Review 92(5), 1644-1655]. Controlling for subject demographic and economic characteristics, we find that risk aversion is negatively and significantly associated with cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight or obese, and seat belt non-use. In additional specifications, we find that risk aversion is negatively and significantly associated with the likelihood a subject engaged in any of five risky behaviors and the number of risky behaviors reported.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2008. "Predicting health behaviors with an experimental measure of risk preference," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1260-1274, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:5:p:1260-1274
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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