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Preferences, personality and health behaviors: results from an explorative economic experiment

Donata Bessey ()
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Donata Bessey: Yonsei University

International Journal of Health Economics and Management, 2018, vol. 18, issue 4, 437-456

Abstract: Abstract This research note analyzes the relationship between experimentally elicited, incentivized economic preference parameters, personality traits, and three health behaviors: smoking, drinking, and physical activity. While there is a strand of economic research that uses proxy measures of risk and time preference that are not derived from an incentivized experiment and personality traits at the same time, and a considerably smaller one that uses experimentally elicited measures of risk and time preference only, the innovation of my work is to use experimentally elicited, incentivized preference measures and personality traits at the same time to explain a range of health behaviors. Findings presented in this paper suggest that personality traits seem to be more important determinants of health behaviors than economic preference parameters, and that Big Five personality traits, especially Agreeableness, seem to be more important determinants than the Grit score developed by Duckworth et al. (J Pers Soc Psychol 92(6):1087, 2007). When also controlling for a host of personality traits, risk preference is not related to the analyzed behaviors, but time preference is negatively related to smoking. When controlling for economic preferences and Big Five personality traits, the Grit score is unrelated to the analyzed health behaviors. Big Five openness is negatively related to the probability of engaging in physical activity, while Big Five agreeableness is negatively related to the probability of both drinking and binge drinking, but also to the probability of engaging in physical activity. Big Five neuroticism is negatively related to the probability of binge drinking.

Keywords: Health production; Risk attitude; Time preference; Big five; Grit score (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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