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Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting

  • Robert Goldfarb

    ()

    (George Washington University)

  • Thomas C. Leonard

    (Princeton University)

  • Steven Suranovic

    (George Washington University)

Why do people diet? The proximate cause of dieting is a desire to lose weight, but, because there are different ways by which a person becomes heavier than he wants to be, the ultimate causes of the choice to diet vary. Using a simple, graphical model grounded in the physiology of weight determination, we explore some theoretical and empirical implications of dieting’s different causes. The model determines desired weight, generates propositions about "optimal overweightedness," and shows how different causes of dieting can be usefully analyzed.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume32/V32N1P115_131.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 32 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 115-131

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:32:y:2006:i:1:p:115-131
Contact details of provider: Postal: c/o Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, The Anisfield School of Business 205, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Ramapo, New Jersey 07430, USA
Phone: (201) 684-7346
Web page: http://www.ramapo.edu/eea/journal.htmlEmail:


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  1. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
  2. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Cawley, John & Markowitz, Sara & Tauras, John, 2004. "Lighting up and slimming down: the effects of body weight and cigarette prices on adolescent smoking initiation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 293-311, March.
  5. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  6. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1995. "Rational Addiction with Learning and Regret," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 739-58, August.
  7. Dockner, Engelbert J & Feichtinger, Gustav, 1993. "Cyclical Consumption Patterns and Rational Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 256-63, March.
  8. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
  9. Smith, Trenton G, 2002. "Obesity and Nature's Thumbprint: How Modern Waistlines Can Inform Economic Theory," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt31g1m028, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  10. David George, 1998. "Coping Rationally with Unpreferred Preferences," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 181-194, Spring.
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