IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Impatience, Incentives, and Obesity

  • Charles J. Courtemanche
  • Garth Heutel
  • Patrick McAlvanah

This paper explores the relationship between time preferences, economic incentives, and body mass index (BMI). Using data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we first show that greater impatience increases BMI even after controlling for demographic, human capital, and occupational characteristics as well as income and risk preference. Next, we provide evidence of an interaction effect between time preference and food prices, with cheaper food leading to the largest weight gains among those exhibiting the most impatience. The interaction of changing economic incentives with heterogeneous discounting may help explain why increases in BMI have been concentrated amongst the right tail of the distribution, where the health consequences are especially severe. Lastly, we model time-inconsistent preferences by computing individuals'quasi-hyperbolic discounting parameters (β and δ). Both long-run patience (δ) and present-bias (β) predict BMI, suggesting obesity is partly attributable to rational intertemporal tradeoffs but also partly to time inconsistency.

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: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17483.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17483.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Impatience, Incentives, and Obesity." (with Charles Courtemanche and Patrick McAlvanah), forthcoming, The Economic Journal.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17483
Note: EEE HC HE
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


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. Courtemanche, Charles & Carden, Art, 2011. "Supersizing supercenters? The impact of Walmart Supercenters on body mass index and obesity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 165-181, March.
  2. Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity," Working Papers 09-1, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jan 2009.
  3. Smith, Patricia K. & Bogin, Barry & Bishai, David, 2005. "Are time preference and body mass index associated?: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 259-270, July.
  4. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor, 2007. "Predicting Health Behaviors with an Experimental Measure of Risk Preference," Working Papers 59, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  5. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng, 2009. "Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight," NBER Working Papers 15096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George F. Loewenstein, 1988. "Frames of Mind in Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(2), pages 200-214, February.
  7. Courtemanche, Charles, 2008. "Longer Hours and Larger Waistlines? The Relationship Between Work Hours and Obesity," Working Papers 09-2, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics, revised 12 Mar 2009.
  8. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H., 2006. "Time discounting and the body mass index: Evidence from the Netherlands," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 39-61, January.
  9. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  11. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
  12. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ikeda, Shinsuke & Kang, Myong-Il & Ohtake, Fumio, 2010. "Hyperbolic discounting, the sign effect, and the body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 268-284, March.
  14. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
  15. Jay Bhattacharya & M. Kate Bundorf & Noemi Pace & Neeraj Sood, 2011. "Does Health Insurance Make You Fat?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 35-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Andrew J. Plantinga & Stephanie Bernell, 2007. "The Association Between Urban Sprawl And Obesity: Is It A Two-Way Street?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-879.
  17. Chabris, Christopher F. & Laibson, David I. & Morris, Carrie L. & Schuldt, Jonathon P. & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," Scholarly Articles 11130522, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Courtemanche, Charles, 2009. "Rising cigarette prices and rising obesity: Coincidence or unintended consequence?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 781-798, July.
  19. Charles L. Baum, 2009. "The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 3-19.
  20. Anderson, Michael L. & Matsa, David A., 2010. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4vm5m5vr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  21. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
  22. Eid, Jean & Overman, Henry G & Puga, Diego & Turner, Matthew A, 2007. "Fat City: Questioning the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
  24. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104.
  25. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Optimal Sin Taxes," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000346, UCLA Department of Economics.
  26. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. McAlvanah, Patrick, 2010. "Subadditivity, patience, and utility: The effects of dividing time intervals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 325-337, November.
  28. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 32-63, August.
  30. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2006. "Reply to Jonathan Gruber and Michael Frakes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 389-393, March.
  31. Michael Grossman & Naci H. Mocan, 2011. "Economic Aspects of Obesity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros09-1, September.
  32. 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.
  33. Heutel, Garth, 2010. "Optimal Policy Instruments for Externality-Producing Durable Goods under Time Inconsistency," Working Papers 10-5, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  34. Marjorie K. Shelley, 1993. "Outcome Signs, Question Frames and Discount Rates," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(7), pages 806-815, July.
  35. Zhenxiang Zhao & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Effects of Urban Sprawl on Obesity," NBER Working Papers 15436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Incentives, Commitments and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company," NBER Working Papers 18580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2010. "Stability of Time Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 4756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  39. Marco Percoco & Peter Nijkamp, 2009. "Estimating individual rates of discount: a meta-analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(12), pages 1235-1239.
  40. Richard A. Dunn, 2010. "The Effect of Fast-Food Availability on Obesity: An Analysis by Gender, Race, and Residential Location," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1149-1164.
  41. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2012. "Understanding overeating and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 781-796.
  42. David O. Meltzer & Zhuo Chen, 2011. "The Impact of Minimum Wage Rates on Body Weight in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 17-34 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  43. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
  44. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
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:nbr:nberwo:17483. 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: ()

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.