Journal Article

Present bias for monetary and dietary rewards

Published: 2022

Economists model self-control problems through time-inconsistent preferences. Empirical tests of these preferences largely rely on experimental elicitation using monetary rewards, with several recent studies failing to find present bias for money. In this paper, we compare estimates of present bias for money with estimates for healthy and unhealthy foods. In a within-subjects longitudinal experiment with 697 low-income Chinese high school students, we find strong present bias for both money and food, and that individual measures of present bias are moderately correlated across reward types. Our experimental measures of time preferences over both money and foods predict field behaviors including alcohol consumption and academic performance.


Cheung, S.L., Tymula, A. & Wang, X. Present bias for monetary and dietary rewards. Experimental Economics (2022).