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Unpublished Paper
Why the Rich Drink More but Smoke Less: The Impact of Wealth on Health Behaviors
RAND Working Paper (2013)
  • Hans Van Kippersluis
  • Titus Galama, Rand Corporation
Abstract

Wealthier individuals engage in healthier behavior. This paper seeks to explain this phenomenon by developing a theory of health behavior, and exploiting both lottery winnings and inheritances to test the theory. We distinguish between the direct monetary cost and the indirect health cost (value of health lost) of unhealthy consumption. The health cost increases with wealth and the degree of unhealthiness, leading wealthier individuals to consume more healthy and moderately unhealthy, but fewer severely unhealthy goods. The empirical evidence presented suggests that differences in health costs may indeed provide an explanation for behavioral differences, and ultimately health outcomes, between wealth groups.

Keywords
  • consumption,
  • health,
  • health capital,
  • health behavior,
  • wealth
Disciplines
Publication Date
Winter February, 2013
Citation Information
Hans Van Kippersluis and Titus Galama. "Why the Rich Drink More but Smoke Less: The Impact of Wealth on Health Behaviors" RAND Working Paper (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/titus_galama/13/