Healthy Habits: The Connection between Diet, Exercise, and Locus of Control

49 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2012 Last revised: 16 Aug 2013

See all articles by Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sonja C. Kassenboehmer

Monash University - Centre for Health Economics

Stefanie Schurer

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics and Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between individuals' locus of control and their decisions to exercise regularly, eat well, drink moderately, and avoid tobacco. Our primary goal is to assess the relative importance of the alternative pathways that potentially link locus of control to healthy habits. We find that individuals with an internal locus of control are more likely to eat well and exercise regularly. This link cannot be explained by the extent to which they are future-orientated and value their health, however. There are important gender differences in explaining the link between perceptions of control and healthy habits. Men with an internal locus of control expect to have higher health returns to their investments in diet and exercise. In contrast, women with an internal locus of control maintain healthy habits because they derive greater satisfaction from those activities than women with external control tendencies.

Keywords: Non-cognitive skills, locus of control, health behavior, healthy diet, exercise

JEL Classification: I14, J3, C18

Suggested Citation

Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. and Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. and Schurer, Stefanie, Healthy Habits: The Connection between Diet, Exercise, and Locus of Control (August 2012). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2146274 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2146274

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

606 Social Sciences Bldg. (A02)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61435061387 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Sonja C. Kassenboehmer

Monash University - Centre for Health Economics ( email )

Building 75, 15 Innovation Walk
Monash University
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Stefanie Schurer (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington 6001
New Zealand
+64-4-4636708 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sef/staff/stefanie-schurer.aspx

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