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Heterogeneity in State‐Dependent Utility: Evidence from Strategic Surveys

15 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016  

Jeffrey R. Brown

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Illinois College of Law; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics

Gopi Shah Goda

Stanford University

Kathleen M. McGarry

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

A standard result of life‐cycle models under uncertainty is that optimizing individuals equate the expected marginal utility of consumption across states of the world if insurance is available at actuarially fair rates. A small empirical literature has suggested that the marginal utility of consumption is lower in less healthy states. We use a novel survey‐based measure to document significant heterogeneity in health‐state dependence across individuals largely orthogonal to standard controls. We further show that individuals value unhealthy states of the world more when facing work‐limiting disabilities than when facing disabilities requiring long‐term care, and when facing physical rather than mental disabilities.

JEL Classification: D12, I10

Suggested Citation

Brown, Jeffrey R. and Goda, Gopi Shah and McGarry, Kathleen M., Heterogeneity in State‐Dependent Utility: Evidence from Strategic Surveys (April 2016). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 54, Issue 2, pp. 847-861, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2738299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12313

Jeffrey R. Brown (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) ( email )

Urbana, IL 61801
United States

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

410 David Kinley Hall
1407 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Gopi Shah Goda

Stanford University ( email )

SIEPR
366 Galvez St.
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
6507360480 (Phone)

Kathleen M. McGarry

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States
310-206-2833 (Phone)
310-825-9528 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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