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Predicting Health Behaviors with an Experimental Measure of Risk Preference

  • Lisa R. Anderson

    ()

    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Jennifer M. Mellor

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, College of William and Mary)

We conduct a large-scale economics experiment paired with a survey to examine the association between individual risk preference and health-related behaviors among adults aged 18 to 87 years. Risk preference is measured by the Holt and Laury (2002) lottery choice experiment. Controlling for subject demographic and economic characteristics, we find that risk aversion is negatively and significantly associated with cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, being overweight or obese, and seat belt non-use. In additional specifications, we find that risk aversion is negatively and significantly associated with the likelihood a subject engaged in any of five risky behaviors and the number of risky behaviors reported.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 59.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 15 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:59
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