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Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness

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  • Alois Stutzer

    () (University of Basel)

Abstract

Obesity has become a major health issue. Research in economics has provided important insights as to how technological progress reduced the relative price of food and contributed to the increase in obesity. However, the increased availability of food might well have overstrained will power and led to suboptimal consumption decisions relative to people's own standards. We propose the economics of happiness as an approach to study the phenomenon. Based on proxy measures for experienced utility, it is possible to directly address whether certain observed behavior is suboptimal and therefore reduces a person's well-being. It is found that obesity decreases the well-being of individuals who report limited self-control, but not otherwise.

Suggested Citation

  • Alois Stutzer, 2007. "Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness," Working papers 2007/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2007/07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Huffman, Sonya & Rizov, Marian, 2016. "Life Satisfaction and Diet: Evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235148, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1143-y is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Odermatt, Reto & Stutzer, Alois, 2015. "Smoking bans, cigarette prices and life satisfaction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, pages 176-194.
    6. John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee, 2011. "Happiness and Time Preference: The Effect of Positive Affect in a Random-Assignment Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3109-3129, December.
    7. Olivier Bargain & Jinan Zeidan, 2014. "The Direct Effect of Obesity on Emotional Well-Being: Evidence from Mexico," AMSE Working Papers 1432, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 16 Jul 2014.
    8. Pagan, Ricardo & Haro, Carmen Ordóñez de & Sánchez, Carlos Rivas, 2016. "Obesity, job satisfaction and disability at older ages in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 42-54.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
    13. 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

    Keywords

    obesity; revealed preference; self-control problem; subjective well-being;

    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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