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Present-biased preference and human health behavior: A mini review

This article draws from the behavioral economic research in Kang and Ikeda (2015) to review the evidence that human health-related behaviors differ according to the properties of people's time preferences in intertemporal decisions. We elicited time preferences through an Internet survey conducted on Japanese adults that involved four hypothetical intertemporal monetary choice tasks under several choice conditions as well as a time-inconsistent delay during an onerous school assignment. The results show that the respondents’ unhealthful behaviors were more salient for those with higher degrees of (i) impatience, (ii) present-biasness (whereby they discounted distant future felicity more steeply than that of the immediate future), and (iii) naivety (i.e., self-unawareness of presentbiasness). These results imply that intervening to alter naifs’ behavior (e.g., through “nudging’) is a more effective health policy than providing commitment devices and that taxing unhealthy products is effective in


Myong-Il Kang

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