Catarina Goulão, and Agustín Pérez-Barahona, Intergenerational transmission of non-communicable chronic diseases, Journal of Public Economic Theory, vol. 16, n. 3, June 2014, pp. 467–490.


We introduce a theoretical framework that contributes to the understanding of non-communicable chronic diseases’ (NCDs) epidemics: even if NCDs are non-infectious diseases, they may spread due to the social transmission of unhealthy activities such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and smoking. In particular, we study the intergenerational dimension of this mechanism. We find that, due to the social transmission of NCDs, agents choose lower health conditions and higher unhealthy activities than what is socially optimal. Taxes on unhealthy activities, that may subsidize health investments, can be used to restore the social optimum. Finally, our model is consistent with the existence of regional asymmetries regarding the prevalence of obesity and NCDs.