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Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness

33 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2007  

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Obesity has become a major health issue. Research in economics has provided important insights as to how technological progress reduced the relative price of food and contributed to the increase in obesity. However, the increased availability of food might well have overstrained will power and led to suboptimal consumption decisions relative to people's own standards. We propose the economics of happiness as an approach to study the phenomenon. Based on proxy measures for experienced utility, it is possible to directly address whether certain observed behavior is suboptimal and therefore reduces a person's well-being. It is found that obesity decreases the well-being of individuals who report limited self-control, but not otherwise.

Keywords: obesity, revealed preference, self-control problem, subjective well-being

JEL Classification: D12, D91, I12, I31

Suggested Citation

Stutzer, Alois, Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness (July 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2925. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1001413

Alois Stutzer (Contact Author)

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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