Chapter

The role of time preference and perspective in socioeconomic inequalities in health-related behaviours

Jean Adams

in Social inequality and public health

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847423207
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303398 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847423207.003.0002
The role of time preference and perspective in socioeconomic inequalities in health-related behaviours

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This chapter shows how social inequalities affect the way people think about the future, and through this affect their decisions to engage in health-destroying behaviours like smoking or avoiding health check-ups. In high-inequality societies, those on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder may not feel much incentive to plan for the long term, and as a result end up living in worse health when they get older. This can act as a drag on the public's health more broadly. The chapter discusses how time preference and time perspective have been understood by both economists and psychologists, describes the theoretical reasons why time preference and perspective may be related to both SEP and health-related behaviours and briefly reviews the evidence relating to these relationships.

Keywords: social inequality; health-destroying behaviours; socioeconomic ladder; time preference; time perspective

Chapter.  6417 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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