Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 812: Time Preferences, Illness, and Death

Lisa Norrgren ()
Additional contact information
Lisa Norrgren: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: P.O. Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates the predictive power of time preferences on the risk of early mortality and illness in adulthood. Using a unique Swedish cohort of 12,956 individuals born in 1953, interviewed in 1966, and followed with register data up to 2018, the paper finds that patient adolescents are 17–21% less likely to die before age 65. Patient adolescents have fewer hospitalizations and diagnoses in their adult life and are less likely to be diagnosed with conditions associated with lifestyle risk factors. Patient adolescents are also more in favor of sports activities and school rules on smoking. The investigated channels for the relationship between time preferences and future health include lifestyle, mother’s time preferences, and the adolescent’s education attainment and future income. Controlling for education and income reduces the coefficient for time preferences on early mortality by one-fourth.

Keywords: Time preferences; illnes; death

JEL-codes: D90; D91; I10; I12

101 pages, First version: October 2021. Revised: October 11, 2021.

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