Physical Activity, Present Bias, and Habit Formation: Theory and Evidence from Longitudinal Data

35 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015

See all articles by Brad R. Humphreys

Brad R. Humphreys

West Virginia University - Department of Economics

Jane E. Ruseski

West Virginia University

Li Zhou

University of Alberta - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 12, 2015

Abstract

We investigate temporal decisions to participate in exercise in a dynamic model featuring present bias and habit formation. The model highlights naivete about present bias and projection bias about habit formation/decay and implies that promoting participation in physical activity must both encourage the inactive to start and discourage the active from quitting as behavioral biases apply to both. Our empirical analysis using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) develops evidence consistent with predictions about present bias and habit formation/decay and an interesting asymmetry between starting and quitting that furthers understanding of existing empirical evidence.

Keywords: present-bias, physical activity, habit formation, habit decay, projection bias

JEL Classification: D1, I12, L83

Suggested Citation

Humphreys, Brad R. and Ruseski, Jane E. and Zhou, Li, Physical Activity, Present Bias, and Habit Formation: Theory and Evidence from Longitudinal Data (August 12, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2643049

Brad R. Humphreys (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - Department of Economics ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Jane E. Ruseski

West Virginia University ( email )

PO Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Li Zhou

University of Alberta - Department of Economics ( email )

8-14 Tory Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4
Canada

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