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Limited Self‐control, Obesity, and the Loss of Happiness

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  • Alois Stutzer
  • Armando N. Meier

Abstract

Is obesity the consequence of an optimally chosen lifestyle or do people consume too much relative to their long‐term preferences? The latter perspective accepts that people might face self‐control problems when exposed to the immediate gratification from food. We exploit unique survey data for Switzerland in multinomial logit and ordered probit regressions to study (i) the covariates of obesity including indicators of self‐control and (ii) the consequences of obesity on the subjective well‐being of people with limited willpower. Our main finding is that obesity decreases the well‐being of individuals who report having limited self‐control, but not otherwise. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Alois Stutzer & Armando N. Meier, 2016. "Limited Self‐control, Obesity, and the Loss of Happiness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(11), pages 1409-1424, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:25:y:2016:i:11:p:1409-1424
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    Cited by:

    1. Olaf Hübler, 2019. "The Role of Body Weight for Health, Earnings, and Life Satisfaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1024, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
    3. Odermatt, Reto & Stutzer, Alois, 2015. "Smoking bans, cigarette prices and life satisfaction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 176-194.
    4. Tahereh Alavi Hojjat, 2015. "The Economic Analysis Of Obesity," Review of Business and Finance Studies, The Institute for Business and Finance Research, vol. 6(1), pages 81-98.
    5. Paul Anand & Alastair Gray, 2009. "Obesity as Market Failure: Could a ‘Deliberative Economy’ Overcome the Problems of Paternalism?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 182-190, April.
    6. Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2016. "Life Satisfaction and Diet: Evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235148, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Pagan, Ricardo & Haro, Carmen Ordóñez de & Sánchez, Carlos Rivas, 2016. "Obesity, job satisfaction and disability at older ages in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 42-54.
    8. Wang-Sheng Lee & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 117-136, May.
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    11. Pugno, Maurizio, 2013. "Scitovsky and the income-happiness paradox," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-10.
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    13. Hübler, Olaf, 2019. "The Role of Body Weight for Health, Earnings and Life Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 12078, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    16. Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Samuli Saarni & Suoma Saarni, 2014. "The Negative Association of Obesity with Subjective Well-Being: Is it All About Health?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 857-867, August.
    17. John Tomer, 2011. "What Causes Obesity? And Why Has It Grown So Much?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 22-49.
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    19. Strulik, Holger, 2018. "I shouldn't eat this donut: Self-control, body weight, and health in a life cycle model," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 360, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    20. Carrieri, V.; Jones, A.M.;, 2017. "Intergenerational transmission of nicotine within families: have e-cigarettes had an impact?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/03, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    21. Viviana Di Giovinazzo, 2010. "Towards an alternative paradigm of consumer behavior," Working Papers 179, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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