Time preferences and health behaviour: a review

Lydia Lawless, Andreas C. Drichoutis, Rodolfo M. Nayga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we review published studies to assess the influence of time preferences on human health behaviour. Our review indicates that elicited discount rates for health have been found to be higher than those for money in both the social and private context. We discuss the importance of discount rates for public policy since high time discount rates can contribute to governmental emphasis on acute health care, rather than preventive health care. We then examine how time preferences interrelate with specific health concerns such as smoking or obesity. We find that even when time preferences are elicited in the monetary domain, they can be successful in predicting smoking cessation and likewise for obesity. We also discuss how time preferences relate with teen risk taking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalAgricultural and Food Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec 1


  • Discount rate
  • Health behaviour
  • Health domain
  • Risk aversion
  • Time preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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