Fat Debtors: Time Discounting, its Anomalies, and Body Mass Index

ISER Discussion Paper No. 732

52 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2009

See all articles by Shinsuke Ikeda

Shinsuke Ikeda

Osaka University

Myong-Il Kang

Korea University - Department of Business Administration

Fumio Ohtake

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research

Date Written: March 10, 2009

Abstract

In view of the finding that debtors are likely to be more obese than nondebtors, we investigate whether interpersonal differences in body mass are, as in the case of debt behavior, related to those in time discounting and time discounting anomalies. The effects of time discounting on body mass index (BMI) and the probabilities of being obese, severely obese, and underweight are detected by incorporating three properties of intertemporal preferences: (i) impatience, measured by the level of the respondents' discount rate; (ii) hyperbolic discounting, where discount rates for the discounting of immediate future payoffs are higher than those of distant future payoffs; and (iii) the sign effect, wherein future negative payoffs are discounted at a lower rate than are future positive payoffs. We also find that body mass is non-monotonically correlated with age, income, and working hours. As a policy implication, body mass can potentially be controlled by changing the intertemporal structure of medical care costs.

Keywords: BMI, obesity, underweight, time preference, discount rate, hyperbolic discounting, procrastination, the sign effect

JEL Classification: I10, Z00

Suggested Citation

Ikeda, Shinsuke and Kang, Myong-Il and Ohtake, Fumio, Fat Debtors: Time Discounting, its Anomalies, and Body Mass Index (March 10, 2009). ISER Discussion Paper No. 732. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1357093 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1357093

Shinsuke Ikeda (Contact Author)

Osaka University ( email )

6-1 Mihogaoka
Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047
Japan
+81-6-6879-8568 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/~ikeda/index.html

Myong-Il Kang

Korea University - Department of Business Administration ( email )

1 Anam-dong 5 ka
Seoul, 136-701
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Fumio Ohtake

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research ( email )

1-1 Yamadaoka
Suita
Osaka, 565-0871
Japan

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