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Multiple Equilibria in Body-Mass


  • Rodrigo Cerda

    () (Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.)


This paper develops a simple model in which individuals rationally determine their body-mass by choosing food ingestion and time spent exercising. We show that multiple equilibria in body-mass might exist due to two forces with opposite effects. Firstly, an increase in body-mass has a negative impact on current utility and therefore, slows down body-mass accumulation. Secondly, an increase in body-mass has negative impact on the mortality rate, and thus on the individual's discount factor. This effect is associated with an individual's "myopic" behavior as more weight is given to current utility flow compared with future utility flows. As a result, the impact on the mortality rate accelerates the accumulation of body-mass throughout an increase in food ingestion and less time allocated to exercise. Thus, some individuals might be willing to ingest less food and spent more time exercising if they place more value on the negative impact of body-mass on their current utility, while others individuals might decide to accelerate body-mass if they face lower discounted future utility flows. A second conclusion relies on the stability of the different equilibria, which assures persistence in body-mass and explains why radical treatments might be required to modify an individual's weight.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrigo Cerda, 2003. "Multiple Equilibria in Body-Mass," Documentos de Trabajo 253, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  • Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:253

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sjaastad, Larry A., 1998. "On exchange rates, nominal and real," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 407-439, June.
    2. T. W.Swan, 1960. "Economic Control In A Dependent Economy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 36(73), pages 51-66, March.
    3. Ángel Cabrera & Luis Felipe Lagos, 2002. "Monetary Policy in Chile: A Black Box?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 8, pages 197-246 Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Larry A Sjaastad, 1996. "Recent Evolution of the Chilean Real Exchange Rate," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 33(98), pages 109-132.
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    More about this item


    Body-mass; multiple equilibria; oscillations;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior


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