A New Year, a New You? Heterogeneity and Self-Control in Food Purchases

63 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017

See all articles by L. Cherchye

L. Cherchye

KU Leuven; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Bram de Rock

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Campus Kortrijk (KULAK) - Subfaculty of Economics and Applied Economics

Rachel Griffith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University of Manchester; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University College London

Frederic Vermeulen

KU Leuven

Abstract

We document considerable within-person (over time) variation in diet quality that is not fully explained by responses to fluctuations in the economic environment. We propose a two-selves model that provides a structural interpretation to this variation, in which food choices are a compromise between a healthy and an unhealthy self, each with well-behaved preferences. We show that the data are consistent with this model using revealed preference methods. The extent of self-control problems is higher among younger and lower income consumers, though this is overstated if we do not control for responses to fluctuations in the economic environment. Our results are intuitively related to stated attitudes on self-control.

Keywords: two-selves model, self-control, revealed preferences

JEL Classification: C14, D12, D90, I12

Suggested Citation

Cherchye, Laurens and de Rock, Bram and Griffith, Rachel and O'Connell, Martin and Smith, Kate and Vermeulen, Frederic, A New Year, a New You? Heterogeneity and Self-Control in Food Purchases. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11205. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3092529

Laurens Cherchye (Contact Author)

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant
Belgium

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Bram De Rock

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Campus Kortrijk (KULAK) - Subfaculty of Economics and Applied Economics ( email )

Etienne Sabbelaan 53
Kortrijk, B-8500
Belgium

Rachel Griffith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7291 4800 (Phone)
+44 20 7323 4780 (Fax)

University of Manchester ( email )

Arthur Lewis Building
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifs.org.uk/people/profile?id=37

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Frederic Vermeulen

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

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