Obesity and Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?

16 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2007

See all articles by Timothy J. Richards

Timothy J. Richards

Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business

Paul M. Patterson

Arizona State University (ASU) - Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management

Abebayehu Tegene

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Abstract

Recent research shows that the dramatic rise in obesity in the United States is due more to the overconsumption of unhealthy foods than underactivity. This study tests for an addiction to food nutrients as a potential explanation for the apparent excessive consumption. A random coefficients (mixed) logit model is used to test a multivariate rational addiction model. The results reveal a particularly strong addiction to carbohydrates. The implication of this finding is that price-based policies, sin taxes, or produce subsidies that change the expected future costs and benefits of consuming carbohydrate-intensive foods may be effective in controlling excessive nutrient intake.

Suggested Citation

Richards, Timothy J. and Patterson, Paul M. and Tegene, Abebayehu, Obesity and Nutrient Consumption: A Rational Addiction?. Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 309-324, July 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=993982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00047.x

Timothy J. Richards (Contact Author)

Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business ( email )

7231 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall
Mesa, AZ 85212
United States
480-727-1148 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.east.asu.edu/msabr/faculty/richards.htm

Paul M. Patterson

Arizona State University (ASU) - Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management ( email )

7171 E. Sonoran Arroyo Mall
Mesa, AZ 85212
United States
480-727-1124 (Phone)

Abebayehu Tegene

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

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