Junk Food, Health and Productivity: Taste, Price, Risk and Rationality

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Levy, Amnon (2006)
  • Subject: junk-food, healthy-food, relative taste, relative price, health, risk, lifequality,productivity, rationality, self-control
    • jel: jel:D91 | jel:I12
    mesheuropmc: digestive, oral, and skin physiology

Junk-food consumption, health and productivity are analyzed within an expectedlifetime- utility-maximizing framework in which the probability of living and productivity rise with health and health deteriorate with the consumption of junkfood. So long that the junk food’s relative taste-price differential is positive, the rational diet deviates from the physiologically optimal and renders the levels of health and productivity lower than the maximal. Taxing junk-food can eliminate this discrepancy but the outcome is not Pareto-superior. The value of health and the stationary junk-food consumption and health depend on the relative taste-price differential, survival and satisfaction elasticities and time preference-rate.
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