IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Mass Phenomenon: The Social Evolution of Obesity

  • Strulik, Holger

This paper proposes a theory for the social evolution of obesity. It considers a society, in which individuals experience utility from consumption of food and non-food, the state of their health, and the evaluation of their appearance by others. The theory explains why, ceteris paribus, poor persons are more prone to be severely overweight although eating is expensive and how obesity occurs as a social phenomenon such that body mass continues to rise long after the initial cause (e.g. a lower price of food) is gone. The paper investigates the determinants of a steady-state at which the median citizen is overweight and how an originally lean society arrives at such a steady-state. Extensions of the theory towards dietary choice and the possibility to exercise in order to loose weight demonstrate robustness of the basic mechanism and provide further interesting results.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://diskussionspapiere.wiwi.uni-hannover.de/pdf_bib/dp-489.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-489.

as
in new window

Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-489
Contact details of provider: Postal: Koenigsworther Platz 1, D-30167 Hannover
Phone: (0511) 762-5350
Fax: (0511) 762-5665
Web page: http://www.wiwi.uni-hannover.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1968, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Holger Strulik, 2013. "School Attendance And Child Labor—A Model Of Collective Behavior," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 246-277, 04.
  3. Hazan, Moshe & D. Maoz, Yishay, 2002. "Women's labor force participation and the dynamics of tradition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 193-198, April.
  4. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  6. Holger Strulik, 2012. "Riding High: Success in Sports and the Rise of Doping Cultures," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 539-574, 06.
  7. Davide Dragone & Luca Savorelli, 2010. "Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 017, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 2236, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2009. "Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight," NBER Working Papers 15096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jolliffe, Dean, 2011. "Overweight and poor? On the relationship between income and the body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 342-355.
  11. Anandi Mani & Charles H. Mullin, 2004. "Choosing the Right Pond: Social Approval and Occupational Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 835-862, October.
  12. Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Burke & Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, 07.
  14. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  15. Auld, M. Christopher, 2011. "Effect of large-scale social interactions on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 303-316, March.
  16. Thomas J. Nechyba, 1999. "Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Re-Examination of the Illegitimacy Debate," NBER Working Papers 7240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten, 2001. "Raising Children To Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms And Social Insurance," Seminar Papers 691, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  18. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
  19. Fabrice Etilé, 2007. "Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 945-966.
  20. Franz Wirl & Gustav Feichtinger, 2010. "Modelling Social Dynamics (of Obesity) and Thresholds," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(4), pages 395-414, October.
  21. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 467, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  22. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2012. "Understanding overeating and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 781-796.
  23. Palivos, Theodore, 2001. "Social norms, fertility and economic development," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1919-1934, December.
  24. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1986. "Health Expenditures and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
  26. 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.
  27. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  28. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
  29. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  30. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2009. "The growth of obesity and technological change," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-293, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-489. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Heidrich, Christian)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.