The Mitigating Influence of Time Preference on the Relation between Smoking and BMI Scores

25 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2010

See all articles by Cliff A. Robb

Cliff A. Robb

University of Alabama

Sandra J. Huston

Texas Tech University

Michael S. Finke

The American College

Date Written: July 9, 2008

Abstract

Prior studies find a strong negative relation between smoking and body mass index (BMI). Smoking and obesity both imply a preference for utility in the present at the expense of future consumption. This study proxies time preference through a composite index of equally-weighted intertemporal behaviors to isolate the impact of smoking on BMI independent of time discounting. Adding time preference to a multivariate model inflates the magnitude of the smoking effect, consistent with discounted utility theory. Results suggest that the full effect of non-intertemporal aspects of smoking (for example substitution of cigarettes for food) on BMI scores may have been underestimated in previous studies that fail to account for the mitigating influence of time preference.

Keywords: Behavioral economics, time preference, intertemporal choice, obesity, smoking, health economics, nutrition economics

JEL Classification: D11, D12, D91, I12

Suggested Citation

Robb, Cliff A. and Huston, Sandra J. and Finke, Michael S., The Mitigating Influence of Time Preference on the Relation between Smoking and BMI Scores (July 9, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1719231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1719231

Cliff A. Robb

University of Alabama ( email )

Department of Consumer Economics
2816 Battlement Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

Sandra J. Huston

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Michael S. Finke (Contact Author)

The American College ( email )

Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
United States

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