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Time Discounting, Present Biases, and Health-Related Behavior


  • Myong-Il Kang
  • Shinsuke Ikeda


Analysis of an original nationwide Internet survey reveals that health-related behavior shows associations with three aspects of time discounting: (i) impatience, measured by the overall discount rate; (ii) present bias, measured by the degree of declining impatience in the generalized hyperbolic discount function; and (iii) the sign effect, in that future losses are discounted at a lower rate than future gains. Present-biased respondents are classified as na?ve if the responses are indicative of being a time-inconsistent procrastinator, and classified as sophisticated otherwise. The health-related indicators that we examine relate to smoking, health condition, dentition status, and body habitus. We first show that a higher degree of impatience tends to worsen health-related attributes. Second, respondents with more steeply declining impatience tend to develop more unhealthy behavior and ill-health conditions, and the tendencies are likely to be stronger for na?fs than for sophisticates. Third, the sign effect, too, shows an association with health-related behavior, although the significance levels are not overly high. Consistent with these findings, the principal component of the health-related measures shows strong associations with the degrees of impatience and declining impatience.

Suggested Citation

  • Myong-Il Kang & Shinsuke Ikeda, 2013. "Time Discounting, Present Biases, and Health-Related Behavior," ISER Discussion Paper 0885, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0885

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    Cited by:

    1. Shinsuke Ikeda & Myong-Il Kang, 2015. "Hyperbolic Discounting, Borrowing Aversion and Debt Holding," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 421-446, December.
    2. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9290-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kang, Myong-Il & Ikeda, Shinsuke, 2016. "Time discounting, present biases, and health-related behaviors: Evidence from Japan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 122-136.

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