Essays in Health Economics

Barbieri, Paolo Nicola (2015) Essays in Health Economics, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Economia, 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6880.
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In the first chapter we develop a theoretical model investigating food consumption and body weight with a novel assumption regarding human caloric expenditure (i.e. metabolism), in order to investigate why individuals can be rationally trapped in an excessive weight equilibrium and why they struggle to lose weight even when offered incentives for weight-loss. This assumption allows the theoretical model to have multiple equilibria and to provide an explanation for why losing weight is so difficult even in the presence of incentives, without relying on rational addiction, time-inconsistency preferences or bounded rationality. In addition to this result we are able to characterize under which circumstances a temporary incentive can create a persistent weight loss. In the second chapter we investigate the possible contributions that social norms and peer effects had on the spread of obesity. In recent literature peer effects and social norms have been characterized as important pathways for the biological and behavioral spread of body weight, along with decreased food prices and physical activity. We add to this literature by proposing a novel concept of social norm related to what we define as social distortion in weight perception. The theoretical model shows that, in equilibrium, the effect of an increase in peers' weight on i's weight is unrelated to health concerns while it is mainly associated with social concerns. Using regional data from England we prove that such social component is significant in influencing individual weight. In the last chapter we investigate the relationship between body weight and employment probability. Using a semi-parametric regression we show that men and women employment probability do not follow a linear relationship with body mass index (BMI) but rather an inverted U-shaped one, peaking at a BMI way over the clinical threshold for overweight.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Barbieri, Paolo Nicola
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Obesity, Incentives for Weight Loss, Social Norms, Employment.
Data di discussione
12 Giugno 2015

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