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Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study

In: Economic Aspects of Health

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  • Victor R. Fuchs

Abstract

This paper reports the results of an exploratory survey designed to measure differences in time preference across individuals and to test for relationships between time preference and schooling, health behaviors, and health status. Approximately 500 adults age 25-64 were surveyed by telephone. Time preference was measured by a series of six questions asking the respondent to choose between a sum of money now and a larger sum at a specific point in the future. Approximately two-thirds gave consistent replies to the six questions. The implicit interest rate revealed in their replies is weakly correlated with years of schooling (negative), cigarette smoking (positive), and health status(negative). Family background, especially religion, appears to be an important determinant of time preference.
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Suggested Citation

  • Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 93-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6546
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, July.
    2. Charles E. Metcalf, 1974. "Predicting the Effects of Permanent Programs from a Limited Duration Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 9(4), pages 530-555.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    4. Michael Grossman, 1976. "The Correlation between Health and Schooling," NBER Chapters,in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 147-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Richard Auster & Irving Leveson & Deborah Sarachek, 1969. "The Production of Health, an Exploratory Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 4(4), pages 411-436.
    6. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-193, Fall.
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