Publication Date

September 2006

Publication Details

Levy, A, Junk Food, Health and Productivity: Taste, Price, Risk and Rationality, Working Paper 06-22, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2006.


Junk-food consumption, health and productivity are analyzed within an expectedlifetime- utility-maximizing framework in which the probability of living and productivity rise with health and health deteriorate with the consumption of junkfood. So long that the junk food’s relative taste-price differential is positive, the rational diet deviates from the physiologically optimal and renders the levels of health and productivity lower than the maximal. Taxing junk-food can eliminate this discrepancy but the outcome is not Pareto-superior. The value of health and the stationary junk-food consumption and health depend on the relative taste-price differential, survival and satisfaction elasticities and time preference-rate.