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Obesity and the Rate of Time Preference: Is there a Connection?

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  • Komlos, John
  • Smith, Patricia K.
  • Bogin, Barry

Abstract

We hypothesize that recent trends in U.S. and worldwide obesity are, in part, related to an increase in the marginal rate of time preference, where time preference refers to the rate at which people are willing to trade current benefit for future benefit. The higher the rate of time preference, the larger is the factor by which individuals discount the future health risks associated with current consumption. Data from the United States, as well as international evidence, suggests that a relationship between these two variables is plausible. We encourage researchers to explore the possible link between obesity and time preference, as important insights are likely to result.

Suggested Citation

  • Komlos, John & Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry, 2003. "Obesity and the Rate of Time Preference: Is there a Connection?," Discussion Papers in Economics 60, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:60
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    Cited by:

    1. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2004. "From the tallest to (one of) the fattest: the enigmatic fate of the American population in the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 57-74, March.
    2. Komlos, John & Lauderdale, Benjamin E., 2004. "Spatial Correlates of U.S. Heights and BMIs, 2002," Discussion Papers in Economics 466, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Joan Costa-Font & Joan Gil, 2004. "Social interactions and the contemporaneous determinants of individuals' weight," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2253-2263.
    4. Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2008. "Maternal employment and overweight children: does timing matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 889-906.
    5. García Villar, Jaume & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Income and body mass index in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 73-83, March.
    6. Robert Rosenman, 2011. "The public finance of healthy behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 173-188, April.
    7. Komlos, John & Lauderdale, Benjamin E., 2006. "Underperformance in affluence: the remarkable relative decline in American heights in the second half of the 20th-century," Discussion Papers in Economics 1241, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    8. Harrell Chesson & Jami Leichliter & Gregory Zimet & Susan Rosenthal & David Bernstein & Kenneth Fife, 2006. "Discount rates and risky sexual behaviors among teenagers and young adults," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 217-230, May.
    9. Atella, Vincenzo & Pace, Noemi & Vuri, Daniela, 2008. "Are employers discriminating with respect to weight?: European Evidence using Quantile Regression," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 305-329, December.
    10. Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2010. "Fat and out in Salerno and its province: Adolescent obesity and early school leaving in Southern Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 44-57, March.
    11. Philippe Mahler, 2007. "I'm not fat, just too short for my weight - Family Child Care and Obesity in Germany," SOI - Working Papers 0707, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    12. Joan Costa-Font & Daniele Fabbri & Joan Gil, 2008. "Decomposing Cross-Country Gaps in Obesity and Overweight: Does the Social Environment Matter?," Working Papers in Economics 205, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    13. Shinsuke Ikeda & Kang Myong-Il & Fumio Ohtake, 2009. "Fat Debtors: Time Discounting, Its Anomalies, and Body Mass Index," ISER Discussion Paper 0732, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    14. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    15. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.
    16. Giorgio Brunello & Maria De Paola & Giovanna Labartino, 2012. "More Apples Less Chips? The Effect of School Fruit Schemes on the Consumption of Junk Food," ISER Discussion Paper 0840, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    17. Inas Rashad & Sara Markowitz, 2007. "Incentives in Obesity and Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Alexiadis, Stilianos & Eleftheriou, Konstantinos, 2011. "Health is wealth: an empirical note across the US states," MPRA Paper 33517, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H., 2005. "Time Discounting and the Body Mass Index," IZA Discussion Papers 1597, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Luca Zanin, 2016. "On Italian Households’ Economic Inadequacy Using Quali-Quantitative Measures," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 59-88, August.
    21. Konstantinos Eleftheriou & George Athanasiou & Periklis Kougoulis, 2013. "Labour market, obesity and public policy considerations," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 783-793.
    22. Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2015. "Impatience, Incentives and Obesity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 1-31, February.
    23. Joan Costa Font & Joan Gil Trasfi, 2005. "Obesity and the Incidence of Chronic Diseases: a Seemingly Unrelated Probit Approach," Working Papers in Economics 137, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    time preference; obesity;

    JEL classification:

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

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