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Principles in Health Economics and Policy$
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Jan Abel Olsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794837.001.0001

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Health-related behaviour

Health-related behaviour

(p.107) Chapter 8 Health-related behaviour
Principles in Health Economics and Policy

Jan Abel Olsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines three health determinants that lie inside of individuals’ own control: diet, physical activity, and substance use. The choices exhibited over these three classes of goods (or bads) have fundamental impacts on the health of the individual. Under each of them, three types of policy interventions are discussed: prices, regulations, and ‘nudges’. Generally, price interventions such as indirect taxation and subsidies are useful when demand is responsive to price changes, that is, on price-elastic goods. Regulations are required when consumers do not respond much to price changes, that is, for price-inelastic goods. The use of ‘nudges’ is based on the insight from behavioural economics that consumers are sensitive to how their choice sets are being presented. Through ‘choice architecture’ policymakers can help individuals make healthy choices rather than being victims of a short-sighted weak will.

Keywords:   healthy choices, diet, physical activity, substance use, alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, price interventions, health regulations, nudging

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