As of 2012, 76 million American adults were obese, and the prevalence of this disease, which directly affects more than two-thirds of the adult population, is two-to-three times higher than it was in the 1970s. However, optimal policies to address long-standing obesity problems are not clear, with policy targets ranging from dietary fat, empty calories, and energy balance to consumer education, nutrition labeling, and even certain fat- or sugar-based taxes. These later policies emphasize the role of consumer behavior, and scientists from both social physical science fields have linked addictive behaviors with obesity.Like some previous efforts, including economic studies that capture some aspect of consumer dynamics, we intend to investigate addition both towards specific products and to ingredients or nutrients. Previous research on addictive behavior in food has captured some dynamic aspects of behavior. However, a fully dynamic model with endogenous demand that can identify both stockpiling and addictive behavior not been developed and applied towards food products. Thus, our proposed research will (a) develop a new structural model of rational addiction that is more thoroughly dynamic, (b) investigate addictive behavior at both the product level and nutrient level, (c) consider heterogeneous behavior based on consumers' health status, and (d) investigate the implications for hypothetical policies aimed at stemming the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Our project will make use of micro-level consumer purchase data linked to self-stated health outcomes.
|Effective start/end date||4/15/19 → 4/14/23|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $349,876.00