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Time (In)Consistent Food Choice of Children and Teenagers

  • Bucher-Koenen, Tabea


  • Schmidt, Carsten

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

We document an increasing capacity to resist temptation in a time consistent manner from children to teenagers. Competencies develop in two steps: From age 8 on many pupils naively plan and after age 12 successfully implement strategies to resist temptation. Our evidence comes from a food choice experiment that we conducted with comparable participant pools of elementary and high school pupils in 5 di fferent school years. We off er tangible choices in terms of apples and chocolate. On the first day pupils state their preference regarding tomorrows consumption and on the second day they pick one food item for immediate consumption. We fi nd that most of the 6 to 7 year olds consistently choose chocolate for future and immediate consumption. With pupils age 8 to 12 we observe an increase of time inconsistent behavior - pupils naively planning to consume an apple tomorrow and then choosing chocolate for immediate consumption. From age 14 on a larger share of pupils is sophisticated in the sense that they plan to and actually do consume an apple.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 11251.

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Date of creation: 14 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:11251
Contact details of provider: Postal: Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany
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