Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence
AbstractThis paper makes two contributions to the modeling of addiction. First, we provide new and convincing evidence that smokers are forward-looking in their smoking decisions, using state excise tax increases that have been legislatively enacted but are not yet effective, and monthly data on consumption. Second, we recognize the strong evidence that preferences with respect to smoking are time inconsistent, with individuals both not recognizing the true difficulty of quitting and searching for self-control devices to help them quit. We develop a new model of addictive behavior that takes as its starting point the standard "rational addiction" model, but incorporates time-inconsistent preferences. This model also exhibits forward-looking behavior, but it has strikingly different normative implications; in this case optimal government policy should depend not only on the externalities that smokers impose on others but also on the "internalities" imposed by smokers on themselves. We estimate that the optimal tax per pack of cigarettes should be at least one dollar higher under our formulation than in the rational addiction case. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Volume (Year): 116 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.