PhD: Time preference for future health events

PhD: Time preference for future health events

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A novel choice task called the portfolio choice was developed and piloted in a student sample. This differed from previous time preference elicitation tasks in two aspects of question framing: the use of multiple choice within a set (portfolio choice) and outcomes described as sequences rather than single occurrences. The effect of time preferences on smoking behaviour was estimated in general population cross-sectional data. The analysis includes several explanatory variables potentially correlated with time preferences and health behaviours. These include demographic and socio-economic status measures and four psychological measures of traits found to be associated with health behaviours (self-efficacy, sense of coherence, life orientation and risk attitude). The role of time preferences in obesity was investigated using a Household Survey Panel data set. This approach utilised variations in time preference and BMI over time to allow estimation of the effect of time preferences unbiased by all time-invariant omitted variables.

Outcome and translation

Increasing our understanding of individuals’ time preference for health is critical for devising appropriate interventions to address health behaviours and will inform discounting practices in economic evaluation of health interventions. The research addressed several of the remaining key questions.

PhD student: Ewan Gray

Supervisors:Marjon van der Pol (HERU); Euan Phimister (Department of Economics, University of Aberdeen).

Publications

Gray, E. (2012) 'Time preference for future health events', PhD Thesis, HERU, University of Aberdeen.

Presentations

Gray, E. (2010) 'Time preferences for future health events', University of Aberdeen PhD Symposium, Aberdeen, June 2010.

Gray, E. and Pol, M. van der. (2011) 'A novel method of eliciting social time preferences for health', Health Economists' Study Group (HESG), York, Jauary 2011.

Gray, E. (2011) 'The influence of time preference on the onset of obesity: evidence from a general population longitudinal survey in the Netherlands', HERU workshop on obesity, Aberdeen, May 2011.

Gray, E. (2011) 'The influence of time preferences on the onset of obesity: evidence from a general population', Faculty of Public Health conference, Aviemore, November 2011.

Gray, E. (2012) 'The influence of time preferences on the onset of obesity: evidence from a general population longitudinal survey', College des Economistes de la Sante (CES) / Health Economists' Study Group (HESG), Marseille, January 2012.