About this Research Topic
It has been suggested that behavioral economics is an important factor for improving the healthcare system, but relatively little progress has been made when compared to retirement policy. Some Governments (i.e., UK and US) are making efforts to incorporate the behavioral economics approach into policy-making. By using this model, people are nudged to increase organ donations or to encourage the payment of fines and taxes. There are examples of successful applications of concepts that come from behavioral economics into public health policy that improve health attitudes and behaviors.
In the framework of time discounting, we find examples of time-inconsistent preferences, a departure from the rational choice model that implies a change of preferences. We see people failing in their attempts to quit smoking or to follow a diet when they had previously planned to do it. This is due to the fact that individuals, on many occasions, value more what is available immediately rather than what might come in a distant future. For this reason, many patients ignore the benefits of small behaviors with incremental effects that can avoid long-term costly consequences. An example of a possible behavioral economic application in this situation would be to offer pre-commitment devices that would allow people to reinforce self-control by restricting the choices of their future selves and increasing the probability of adhering to the healthy behavior.
In this Research Topic, we especially welcome submissions of original research papers on time preferences (or discounting models) and their links to health-related behaviors or with policies to promote healthy behaviors. Review articles are also welcome. Issues that contributors could address include, but are not limited to, those relating to:
• reduction in tobacco use
• healthy eating
• physical exercise
• adherence to prescription drugs in chronic diseases
We also encourage contributions addressing the promotion of other healthy behaviors, always relating them with time preferences and/or discounting models.
Keywords: discounting models, behavioral economics, health economics, health psychology, public health
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.