People are willing to engage resources to be above others. The existing evidence suggests that health is a non-positional good: people prefer to be healthy even if others are healthier than them. Using a survey-based study, we explore the positionality of several health-related dimensions in a Choice versus Happiness treatment. Most participants exhibit egalitarian preferences, namely they take into account others’ situations but prefer everybody to receive the same amount of health attributes. Moreover, when health attributes are related to physical appearance, participants express significantly higher levels of positional preferences. We draw several policy implications.
Keeping up with the Joneses: Examining relative concerns in health-related domains
24 November 2021