Living Rationally Under the Volcano? An Empirical Analysis of Heavy Drinking and Smoking

41 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2001 Last revised: 24 Oct 2010

See all articles by Peter Arcidiacono

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Holger Sieg

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Frank A. Sloan

Duke University - Center for Health Policy, Law and Management; Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group; Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2001

Abstract

This study investigates whether models of forward-looking behavior explain the observed patterns of heavy drinking and smoking of men in late middle age in the Health and Retirement Study better than myopic models. We develop and estimate a sequence of nested models which differ by their degree of forward-looking behavior. We also study models which allow for heterogeneity in discounting, and thus test whether certain types of individuals are more likely to show forward-looking behavior than other types. Our empirical findings suggest that forward-looking models with an annual discount factor of approximately 0.78 fit the data the best. These models also dominate other behavioral models based on out-of-sample predictions using data of men aged 70 and over. Myopic models predict rates of smoking and drinking for old individuals which are significantly larger than those found in the data on elderly men.

Suggested Citation

Arcidiacono, Peter and Sieg, Holger and Sloan, Frank A., Living Rationally Under the Volcano? An Empirical Analysis of Heavy Drinking and Smoking (November 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8602. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=291277

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Holger Sieg (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Frank A. Sloan

Duke University - Center for Health Policy, Law and Management ( email )

Box 90253
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-684-8047 (Phone)
919-684-6246 (Fax)

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group ( email )

Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0097
United States

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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