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Individual discount rates and smoking: Evidence from a field experiment in Denmark

  • Harrison, Glenn W.
  • Lau, Morten I.
  • Rutström, E. Elisabet

We elicit measures of individual discount rates from a representative sample of the Danish population and test two substantive hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that smokers have higher individual discount rates than non-smokers. The second hypothesis is that smokers are more likely to have time inconsistent preferences than non-smokers, where time inconsistency is indicated by a hyperbolic discounting function. We control for the concavity of the utility function in our estimates of individual discount rates and find that male smokers have significantly higher discount rates than male non-smokers. However, smoking has no significant association with discount rates among women. This result is robust across exponential and hyperbolic discounting functions. We consider the sensitivity of our conclusions to a statistical specification that allows each observation to potentially be generated by more than one latent data-generating process.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 708-717

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:708-717
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Chabris, Christopher F. & Laibson, David I. & Morris, Carrie L. & Schuldt, Jonathon P. & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," Scholarly Articles 11130522, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  3. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2006. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 5517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Blondel, Serge & Loheac, Youenn & Rinaudo, Stephane, 2007. "Rationality and drug use: An experimental approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 643-658, May.
  8. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  9. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
  10. Jahn K. Hakes & W. Kip Viscusi, 2007. "Automobile Seatbelt Usage and the Value of Statistical Life," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 659–676, January.
  11. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2010. "Preference heterogeneity in experiments: Comparing the field and laboratory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 209-224, February.
  12. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau, 2004. "Estimating risk attitudes in denmark: A field experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00059, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  14. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
  15. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: New Data without Order Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 902-912, June.
  16. Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2009. "Expected utility theory and prospect theory: one wedding and a decent funeral," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 133-158, June.
  17. Glenn W. Harrison & James P. Feehan & Alison C. Edwards & Jorge Segovia, 2003. "Cigarette Smoking and the Cost of Hospital and Physician Care," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-19, March.
  18. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn Harrison & Melonie Williams & Morten Lau, 2002. "Estimating individual discount rates in denmark: A field experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00062, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. Glenn W. Harrison & Ronald M. Harstad & E. Elisabet Rutstr–m, 2004. "Experimental Methods and Elicitation of Values," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 123-140, 06.
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