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Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting

Author

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  • Robert S. Goldfarb

    (The George Washington University)

  • Thomas C. Leonard

    (Princeton University)

  • Steven M. Suranovic

    (The George Washington University)

Abstract

Why do people diet? The proximate cause of dieting is a desire to lose weight, but, because there are different ways by which a person becomes heavier than he wants to be, the ultimate causes of the choice to diet vary. Using a simple, graphical model grounded in the physiology of weight determination, we explore some theoretical and empirical implications of dieting’s different causes. The model determines desired weight, generates propositions about "optimal overweightedness," and shows how different causes of dieting can be usefully analyzed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Steven M. Suranovic, 2005. "Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting," HEW 0511001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0511001
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    3. Dockner, Engelbert J & Feichtinger, Gustav, 1993. "Cyclical Consumption Patterns and Rational Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 256-263, March.
    4. Cawley, John & Markowitz, Sara & Tauras, John, 2004. "Lighting up and slimming down: the effects of body weight and cigarette prices on adolescent smoking initiation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 293-311, March.
    5. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1995. "Rational Addiction with Learning and Regret," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 739-758, August.
    6. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    7. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    8. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
    9. David George, 1998. "Coping Rationally with Unpreferred Preferences," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 181-194, Spring.
    10. Smith, Trenton G, 2002. "Obesity and Nature's Thumbprint: How Modern Waistlines Can Inform Economic Theory," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt31g1m028, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Drichoutis & Rodolfo Nayga & Panagiotis Lazaridis, 2012. "Food away from home expenditures and obesity among older Europeans: are there gender differences?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 1051-1078, June.
    2. John F. Tomer, 2010. "What Causes Obesity? And Why Has it Grown So Much? An Alternative View," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-12, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    3. Robert S. Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Sara Markowitz & Steven Suranovic, 2009. "Can A Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?," NBER Working Papers 14838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John Tomer, 2011. "What Causes Obesity? And Why Has It Grown So Much?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 22-49.
    5. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.

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    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare

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