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Can A Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?

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  • Robert S. Goldfarb
  • Thomas C. Leonard
  • Sara Markowitz
  • Steven Suranovic

Abstract

Can a rational choice modeling framework help broaden our understanding of anorexia nervosa? This question is interesting because anorexia nervosa is a serious health concern, and because of the following issue: could a rational choice approach shed useful light on a condition which appears to involve "choosing" to be ill? We present a model of weight choice and dieting applicable to anorexia nervosa, and the sometimes-associated purging behavior. We also present empirical evidence about factors possibly contributing to anorexia nervosa. We offer this analysis as a consciousness-raising way of thinking about the condition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14838.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14838

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  1. H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert S. Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Steven M. Suranovic, 2005. "Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting," HEW 0511001, EconWPA.
  3. Steven M. Suranovic & Robert S. Goldfarb, 2005. "A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting," HEW 0511002, EconWPA.
  4. Fabrice Etilé, 2007. "Social norms, ideal body weight and food attitudes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(9), pages 945-966.
  5. Suranovic, Steven M. & Goldfarb, Robert S. & Leonard, Thomas C., 1999. "An economic theory of cigarette addiction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, January.
  6. Levy, Amnon, 2002. "Rational eating: can it lead to overweightness or underweightness?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 887-899, September.
  7. Rajeev K. Goel & Michael A. Nelson, 2006. "The Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Legislation: A Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 325-355, 07.
  8. Robert Goldfarb & Thomas Leonard & Steven Suranovic, 2001. "Are rival theories of smoking underdetermined?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 229-251.
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