EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Conspicuous leisure, time allocation, and obesity Kuznets curves

Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh () and Ron Wendner ()
Additional contact information
Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh: University of Vermont, USA

Graz Economics Papers from University of Graz, Department of Economics

Abstract: We build a theoretical model to explain the complex patterns of income and obesity, accounting for changes in behavior related to exercise. We combine the theory of time allocation with the theory of conspicuous leisure in a growth model, assuming that consumption expenditures connected to exercise time are conspicuous, and that conspicuous behavior changes with economic development. As a result, as economies develop, we show that there is a growing wedge between optimal exercise and consumption choices made by individuals with different income levels. We show that this pattern is connected to a dynamic Kuznets curve linking body weight to economic development over time, and a static Kuznets curve linking different steady state levels of income per worker to body weight. Thus, our model helps explain the rise and slowdown in obesity prevalence in the USA, as well as the positive correlation between obesity and income per worker in developing countries, and the negative correlation between obesity and income per worker in industrialized countries. We supplement our theoretical results with numerical simulations of the static and dynamic obesity Kuznets curves for the USA. We show that while exercise choices have contributed to a slowdown in the rise in obesity prevalence, there is to this date no dynamic Kuznets curve pattern for obesity in the USA. By contrast, we find the existence of a static Kuznets curve: the steady state level of average body weight increases with the per worker stock of capital up to a level of 186.5 pounds, corresponding to a capital stock 25% higher than the current steady state US capital stock, and decreases thereafter. We discuss policy implications of our findings.

Keywords: Obesity; Status; Conspicuous leisure; Inequality; Kuznets Curve; Economic Development. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D11 D30 H31 I15 O41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge, nep-gro and nep-hea
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www100.uni-graz.at/vwlwww/forschung/RePEc/wpaper/2021-09.pdf

Related works:
Working Paper: Conspicuous leisure, time allocation, and obesity Kuznets curves (2021) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:grz:wpaper:2021-09

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www100.uni-graz.at/vwlwww/forschung/RePEc/

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Graz Economics Papers from University of Graz, Department of Economics University of Graz, Universitaetsstr. 15/F4, 8010 Graz, Austria. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Michael Scholz ().

 
Page updated 2021-10-17
Handle: RePEc:grz:wpaper:2021-09