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Caught in the Bulimic Trap? Persistence and State Dependence of Bulimia Among Young Women

Author

Listed:
  • Michelle Goeree

    () (University of Zurich)

  • John Ham

    (University of Maryland, Institute on Poverty, and IZA)

  • Daniela Iorio

    (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

Abstract

Eating disorders are an important and growing health concern, and bulimia nervosa (BN) accounts for the largest fraction of eating disorders. Health consequences of BN are substantial and especially serious given the increasingly compulsive nature of the disorder. However, remarkably little is known about the mechanisms underlying the persistent nature of BN. Using a unique panel data set on young women and instrumental variable techniques, we document that unobserved heterogeneity plays a role in the persistence of BN, but strikingly up to two thirds is due to true state dependence. Our findings have important implications for public policy since they suggest that the timing of the policy is crucial: preventive educational programs should be coupled with more intense (rehabilitation) treatment at the early stages of bingeing and purging behaviors. Our results are robust to different model specifications and identifying assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Goeree & John Ham & Daniela Iorio, 2011. "Caught in the Bulimic Trap? Persistence and State Dependence of Bulimia Among Young Women," Working Papers 2011-033, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-033
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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Goeree_Ham_Iorio_2011_caught-bulimic-trap.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michelle S. Goeree & John C. Ham & Daniela Iorio, 2011. "Race, Social Class, and Bulimia Nervosa," Working Papers 2011-034, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. John C. Ham, Daniela Iorio, Michelle Sovinsky, 2016. "Personality Traits and Bulimia Nervosa," Economics Working Papers ECO2016/14, European University Institute.
    3. Michelle S. Goeree & John C. Ham & and Daniela Iorio, 2009. "Caught in the Bulimic Trap? Socioeconomic Status, State Dependence, and Unobserved Heterogeneity," Working Papers 386, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Yiqun Chen & Frank Sloan, 2014. "Subjective Beliefs, Deterrence, and the Propensity to Drive While Intoxicated," NBER Working Papers 20680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2013. "The Origins of Early Childhood Anthropometric Persistence," NBER Working Papers 19554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Daniela Iorio & Michelle Sovinsky, 2012. "How bulimia nervosa relates to addictive behavior," ECON - Working Papers 095, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bulimia Nervosa; Demographics; State Dependence; Instrumental Variables; Dynamic Panel Data Estimation; and Addiction;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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