IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Non-monotonic health behaviours - implications for individual health-related behaviour in a demand-for-health framework

  • Bolin, Kristian


    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Lindgren, Björn

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of Gothenburg, Gotenburg, Sweden; Dept of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge MA, US)

Registered author(s):

    A number of behaviours influence health in a non-monotonic way. Physical activity and alcohol consumption, for instance, may be beneficial to one’s health in moderate but detrimental in large quantities. We develop a demand-for-health framework that incorporates the feature of a physiologically optimal level. An individual may still choose a physiologically non-optimal level, because of the trade-off in his or her preferences for health versus other utility-affecting commodities. However, any deviation from the physiologically optimal level will be punished with respect to health. A set of steady-state comparative statics is derived regarding the effects on the demand for health and health-related behaviour, indicating that individuals will react differently to exogenous changes, depending on the amount of the health-related behaviour they demand. We also show (a) that a steady-state equilibrium is a saddle-point and (b) that the physiologically optimal level may be a steady-state equilibrium for the individual. Our analysis suggests that general public-health policies may, to some extent, be counterproductive due to the responses induced in parts of the population.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 588.

    in new window

    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 27 Mar 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0588
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
    Phone: 031-773 10 00
    Web page:

    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. Dardanoni, Valentino & Wagstaff, Adam, 1987. "Uncertainty, inequalities in health and the demand for health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 283-290, December.
    2. Titus J. Galama & Arie Kapteyn, 2009. "Grossman’s Missing Health Threshold," Working Papers 200947, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. Bolin, Kristian & Jacobson, Lena & Lindgren, Bjorn, 2002. "Employer investments in employee health: Implications for the family as health producer," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 563-583, July.
    4. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
    5. Yang-Ming Chang & Dennis L. Weisman, 2005. "Sibling Rivalry and Strategic Parental Transfers," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 821-836, April.
    6. Muurinen, Jaana-Marja, 1982. "Demand for health: A generalised Grossman model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-28, May.
    7. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, December.
    8. Liljas, Bengt, 1998. "The demand for health with uncertainty and insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 153-170, April.
    9. Bolin, Kristian & Lindgren, Björn & Lindström, Martin & Nystedt, Paul, 2003. "Investments in social capital--implications of social interactions for the production of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(12), pages 2379-2390, June.
    10. Titus Galama, 2011. "A Contribution to Health Capital Theory," Working Papers 831, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    11. Buxton, Orfeu M. & Marcelli, Enrico, 2010. "Short and long sleep are positively associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease among adults in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(5), pages 1027-1036, September.
    12. Takao Asano & Akihisa Shibata, 2011. "Risk and uncertainty in health investment," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 79-85, February.
    13. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1996. "Uncertainty and investment in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 369-376, June.
    14. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
    15. Forster, Martin, 2001. "The meaning of death: some simulations of a model of healthy and unhealthy consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 613-638, July.
    16. Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2005. "What Explains Differences in Smoking, Drinking, and Other Health Related Behaviors," Scholarly Articles 2664274, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    17. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser, 2005. "What Explains Differences in Smoking, Drinking and Other Health-Related Behaviors?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2060, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    18. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    19. Ehrlich, Isaac, 2000. "Uncertain lifetime, life protection, and the value of life saving," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 341-367, May.
    20. Yang-Ming Chang, 2009. "Strategic altruistic transfers and rent seeking within the family," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 1081-1098, October.
    21. Dockner, Engelbert J & Feichtinger, Gustav, 1993. "Cyclical Consumption Patterns and Rational Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 256-63, March.
    22. Dardanoni, Valentino & Wagstaff, Adam, 1990. "Uncertainty and the demand for medical care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 23-38, June.
    23. Liljas, Bengt, 2000. "Insurance and imperfect financial markets in Grossman's demand for health model -- a reply to Tabata and Ohkusa," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 821-827, September.
    24. Picone, Gabriel & Uribe, Martin & Mark Wilson, R., 1998. "The effect of uncertainty on the demand for medical care, health capital and wealth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 171-185, April.
    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:hhs:gunwpe:0588. 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: (Marie Andersson)

    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.