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Time preference and health behaviour: A review

Lawless, Lydia J.R. and Nayga, Rodolfo and Drichoutis, Andreas (2013): Time preference and health behaviour: A review.

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Abstract

Time preferences indicate preferences over streams of future consumption which significantly shape individual decision making including the health domain. In this paper, we review published studies to assess the influence of time preferences on human health behaviour. We first discuss the theoretical background of time preferences; ascertain the differences between private and social discount rates; identify the impact of time preferences on governments of developing nations; and then assess how time preferences influence risky behaviour such as being overweight, smoking, and engaging in risky sexual behaviour. The issue of whether to use proxies or experimental time preference elicitation methods in time preference studies is also addressed.

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