Title: Poverty, bandwidth, and health behavior


Project Description

Large differences in health exist across income groups. Nonetheless, in recent years economists have failed to find a causal effect of income on health. A new hypothesis as to why the poor tend to make worse decisions is put forward by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir in the journal Science. Essentially, they argue that being poor is scarcity of money that “creates a powerful goal—dealing with pressing needs—that inhibits other considerations”. It reduces your ‘bandwidth’ as they call it. They present evidence that the poor are so pre-occupied with making the ends meet that this impedes their cognitive function and their self-control. In this project you will investigate this hypothesis in the field of health behaviour, to see whether the lack of ‘bandwidth’ can also explain worse decisions in terms of health behavior.


Most likely own data collection/experiments are required

Skills required

Acquaintance with Stata or other statistical software