IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Triple Test for Behavioral Economics Models and Public Health Policy

  • Ryota Nakamura

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Marc Suhrcke

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Daniel John Zizzo

    (University of East Anglia)

We propose a triple test to evaluate the usefulness of behavioral economics models for public health policy. Test 1 is whether the model provides reasonably new insights. Test 2 is on whether these have been properly applied to policy settings. Test 3 is whether they are corroborated by evidence. Where a test is not passed, this may point to directions for needed further research. We exemplify by considering the cases of social interactions models, self-control models and, in relation to health message framing, prospect theory; out of these, only a correctly applied prospect theory fully passes the tests at present.

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:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 14-01.

in new window

Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:14-01
Contact details of provider: Postal: Norwich NR4 7TI
Phone: 44 1603 591131
Fax: +44(0)1603 4562592
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Jessica Pointer, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

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. Harris, Jeffrey E. & González López-Valcárcel, Beatriz, 2008. "Asymmetric peer effects in the analysis of cigarette smoking among young people in the United States, 1992-1999," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 249-264, March.
  2. Yann Bramoullé & Habiba Djebbari & Bernard Fortin, 2007. "Identification of Peer Effects through Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0705, CIRPEE.
  3. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  4. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
  5. Zafar, Basit, 2011. "An experimental investigation of why individuals conform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 774-798, August.
  6. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  7. Clark, Andrew E. & Etilé, Fabrice, 2005. "Don't Give Up On Me Baby: Spousal Correlation in Smoking Behaviour," IZA Discussion Papers 1692, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Benabou, Roland & Pycia, Marek, 2002. "Dynamic inconsistency and self-control: a planner-doer interpretation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 419-424, November.
  10. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Battaglini, Marco & Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Self-Control in Peer Groups," IDEI Working Papers 189, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:2:p:857-893 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Alan T. Sorensen, 2006. "Social learning and health plan choice," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 929-945, December.
  14. Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
  15. Davide Dragone & Luca Savorelli, 2010. "Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 017, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  16. R. Duarte & J. Escario & J. Molina, 2014. "Are estimated peer effects on smoking robust? Evidence from adolescent students in Spain," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 1167-1179, May.
  17. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J. & van Landeghem, Bert, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," IZA Discussion Papers 4010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  19. Nicholas Burger & John Lynham, 2010. "Betting on weight loss … and losing: personal gambles as commitment mechanisms," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(12), pages 1161-1166.
  20. Brian Krauth, 2004. "Simulation-based estimation of peer effects," Econometrics 0408002, EconWPA.
  21. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  22. Nordström, Jonas & Thunström, Linda, 2009. "The impact of tax reforms designed to encourage healthier grain consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 622-634, May.
  23. Clark, Andrew E. & Lohéac, Youenn, 2005. ""It Wasn't Me, It Was Them!" - Social Influence in Risky Behavior by Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 1573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Richard G. Frank, 2004. "Behavioral Economics and Health Economics," NBER Working Papers 10881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Auld, M. Christopher, 2011. "Effect of large-scale social interactions on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 303-316, March.
  26. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  27. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  28. Carrell, Scott E. & Hoekstra, Mark & West, James E., 2011. "Is poor fitness contagious?: Evidence from randomly assigned friends," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 657-663, August.
  29. Jason Fletcher, 2012. "Peer influences on adolescent alcohol consumption: evidence using an instrumental variables/fixed effect approach," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1265-1286, October.
  30. Burke & Heiland, 2007. "Social Dynamics Of Obesity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 571-591, 07.
  31. Brian Krauth, 2005. "Peer effects and selection effects on smoking among Canadian youth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 735-757, August.
  32. 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.
  33. Charness, Gary B & Gneezy, Uri, 2008. "Incentives to Exercise," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3tc3j5x7, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  34. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2004. "Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1558-1590, December.
  35. Brian Krauth, 2004. "Peer and selection effects on youth smoking in California," HEW 0408002, EconWPA.
  36. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
  37. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
  38. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:929-945 is not listed on IDEAS
  39. Nyborg, Karine & Rege, Mari, 2003. "On social norms: the evolution of considerate smoking behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 323-340, November.
  40. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
  41. Isabelle Brocas & Juan D. Carrillo, 2008. "The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1312-46, September.
  42. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Game Theory and Information 0303005, EconWPA.
  43. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  44. Svensson, Mikael, 2010. "Alcohol use and social interactions among adolescents in Sweden: Do peer effects exist within and/or between the majority population and immigrants?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1858-1864, June.
  45. Gine, Xavier & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Put your money where your butt is : a commitment contract for smoking cessation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4985, The World Bank.
  46. 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.
  47. repec:rwi:repape:0290 is not listed on IDEAS
  48. Ryo Nakajima, 2007. "Measuring Peer Effects on Youth Smoking Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 897-935.
  49. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Is obesity contagious?: social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  50. Fabrice Etilé, 2007. "Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 945-966.
  51. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kwak, Sally, 2009. "Weight gain in adolescents and their peers," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 181-190, July.
  52. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
  53. Joan Costa Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet, 2011. "Anorexia, Body Image and Peer Effects: Evidence from a Sample of European Women," CEP Discussion Papers dp1098, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  54. Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
  55. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  56. Heather L. Bednarek & Rowena A. Pecchenino & Sally C. Stearns, 2008. "Do Your Neighbors Influence Your Health?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(2), pages 301-315, 04.
  57. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  58. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2002. "Peer Effects on Substance Use among American Teenagers," ISER Discussion Paper 0567, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  59. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  60. Nicholas C. Barberis, 2013. "Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 173-96, Winter.
  61. Jones, Andrew M., 1994. "Health, addiction, social interaction and the decision to quit smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 93-110, March.
  62. S. Nageeb Ali, 2009. "Learning Self-Control," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000384, David K. Levine.
  63. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  64. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Social interactions and smoking: evidence using multiple student cohorts, instrumental variables, and school fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 466-484.
  65. Edward C. Norton & Richard C. Lindrooth & Susan T. Ennett, 1998. "Controlling for the endogeneity of peer substance use on adolescent alcohol and tobacco use," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(5), pages 439-453.
  66. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f2, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  67. Hans-Peter Kohler & Rebecca L. Thornton, 2012. "Conditional Cash Transfers and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Unconditionally Promising?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(2), pages 165-190.
  68. Philip S. Babcock & John L. Hartman, 2010. "Networks and Workouts: Treatment Size and Status Specific Peer Effects in a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 16581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  69. Yakusheva, Olga & Kapinos, Kandice & Weiss, Marianne, 2011. "Peer effects and the Freshman 15: Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 119-132, March.
  70. Gharad Bryan & Dean Karlan & Scott Nelson, 2010. "Commitment Devices," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 671-698, 09.
  71. Jessica Wisdom & Julie S. Downs & George Loewenstein, 2010. "Promoting Healthy Choices: Information versus Convenience," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 164-78, April.
  72. Renna, Francesco & Grafova, Irina B. & Thakur, Nidhi, 2008. "The effect of friends on adolescent body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 377-387, December.
  73. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Donald & Mathios, Alan, 2000. " Racial Difference in the Determinants of Smoking Onset," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 311-40, November.
  74. Olivier Allais & Patrice Bertail & Véronique Nichèle, 2010. "The Effects of a Fat Tax on French Households' Purchases: A Nutritional Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(1), pages 228-245.
  75. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:4:p:1261-1303 is not listed on IDEAS
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:uea:wcbess:14-01. 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: (Alasdair Brown)

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.