A mass phenomenon: The social evolution of obesity
This paper proposes a theory for the social evolution of obesity. It considers a society in which individuals experience utility from consumption of food and non-food, the state of their health, and the evaluation of their appearance by others. The theory explains under which conditions poor persons are more prone to be overweight although eating is expensive and it shows how obesity occurs as a social phenomenon such that body mass continues to rise long after the initial cause (e.g. a lower price of food) is gone. The paper investigates the determinants of a steady state at which the median person is overweight and how an originally lean society arrives at such a steady state. Extensions of the theory towards dietary choice and the possibility to exercise in order to lose weight demonstrate robustness of the basic mechanism and provide further interesting results.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- Burke & Heiland, 2007.
"Social Dynamics Of Obesity,"
Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, 07.
- Thomas J. Nechyba, 2001.
"Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Reexamination of the Illegitimacy Debate,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 637-666, June.
- Thomas J. Nechyba, 1999. "Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Re-Examination of the Illegitimacy Debate," NBER Working Papers 7240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anandi Mani & Charles H. Mullin, 2004. "Choosing the Right Pond: Social Approval and Occupational Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 835-862, October.
- Jolliffe, Dean, 2010.
"Overweight and Poor? On the Relationship between Income and the Body Mass Index,"
IZA Discussion Papers
5366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Jolliffe, Dean, 2011. "Overweight and poor? On the relationship between income and the body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 342-355.
- Davide Dragone & Luca Savorelli, 2010.
"Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure,"
STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series
017, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Dragone, Davide & Savorelli, Luca, 2012. "Thinness and obesity: A model of food consumption, health concerns, and social pressure," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 243-256.
- Franz Wirl & Gustav Feichtinger, 2010. "Modelling Social Dynamics (of Obesity) and Thresholds," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(4), pages 395-414, October.
- Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000.
"Resuscitating Real Business Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
7534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Guido Tabellini, 2007.
"The Scope of Cooperation: values and incentives,"
328, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2009.
"Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight,"
NBER Working Papers
15096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fabrice Etilé, 2007.
"Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes,"
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 945-966.
- Fabrice Etilé, 2007. "Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes," Post-Print halshs-00754207, HAL.
- Auld, M. Christopher, 2011. "Effect of large-scale social interactions on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 303-316, March.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003.
"Why Have Americans Become More Obese?,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
- repec:hhs:iuiwop:557 is not listed on IDEAS
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003.
"The Social Multiplier,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 345-353, 04/05.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1968, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- E. Glaeser & B. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000130, David K. Levine.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," NBER Working Papers 9153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2010.
"Understanding Overeating and Obesity,"
NBER Working Papers
16149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995.
"Saving and growth with habit formation,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 2000. "Mathematica code for 'Saving and Growth with Habit Formation' and 'Comparison Utility in a Growth Model'," QM&RBC Codes 43, Quantitative Macroeconomics & Real Business Cycles.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1986. "Health Expenditures and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2006. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms, and Social Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1473-1503.
- Hazan, Moshe & D. Maoz, Yishay, 2002.
"Women's labor force participation and the dynamics of tradition,"
Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 193-198, April.
- Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2005. "Women’S Labor Force Participation And The Dynamics Of Tradition," Labor and Demography 0507001, EconWPA.
- Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950.
- Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
- Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
- Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
- Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2009. "The growth of obesity and technological change," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-293, December.
- Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
- Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Holger Strulik, 2013.
"School Attendance And Child Labor—A Model Of Collective Behavior,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 246-277, 04.
- Strulik, Holger, 2010. "School Attendance and Child Labor - A Model of Collective Behavior," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-441, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J. & van Landeghem, Bert, 2009.
"Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Strulik, Holger, 2007.
"Riding High - Success in Sports and the Rise of Doping Cultures,"
Hannover Economic Papers (HEP)
dp-372, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
- Holger Strulik, 2012. "Riding High: Success in Sports and the Rise of Doping Cultures," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 539-574, 06.
- Palivos, Theodore, 2001. "Social norms, fertility and economic development," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1919-1934, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:33:y:2014:i:c:p:113-125. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
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.