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Rationalizing self-defeating behaviors: Theory and evidence

Lars J. Lefgren, Olga B. Stoddard and John Stovall ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2021, vol. 76, issue C

Abstract: Why do individuals engage in self-defeating behaviors like self-harm, addiction, and risky sexual behaviors? Why do they experience the apathy of depression or inaction when trapped by multiple competing problems? We propose a framework for explaining these and other related behaviors based on the insight that individuals can only experience a limited number of latent stimuli to which they are exposed. We conduct an experiment to test this model and find that more than two thirds of the subjects behave consistent with our theoretical framework.

Keywords: Self-defeating behaviors; Theory; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Working Paper: Are Two Bads Better Than One? A Model of Sensory Limitations (2018) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2020.102407

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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