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Some Fundamental Problems in Becker, Grossman and Murphy's Implementation of Rational Addiction Theory

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  • Knut R. Wangen

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

Abstract

The econometric implementation of rational addiction theory has been highly influenced by Becker, Grossman and Murphy (BGM). They specify an Euler equation where current consumption is determined by current price and past and future consumption. This model is claimed to be able to discriminate between rational addictive, myopic addictive, and non-addictive behavior. However, as demonstrated in this paper, the coefficients of the Euler equation are not structural parameters. Provided that two implausible assumptions do not hold, the Euler equation coefficients for the rational addict are shown to be non-constant. But even when these assumptions are assumed to be valid, the coefficients of the Euler equation will vary under the alternative hypothesis of myopic addiction. Moreover, and in contrast to the common interpretation, BGM's non-addicted consumer is influenced by past consumption, implying that a rational and a myopic non-addict behave differently. These problems makes it unclear how analyses based on the BGM approach can support, or reject, rational addiction theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 375.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:375

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Keywords: Rational addiction; Euler equation;

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  1. Pollak, Robert A, 1970. "Habit Formation and Dynamic Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 745-63, Part I Ju.
  2. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Labeaga, Jose M., 1999. "A double-hurdle rational addiction model with heterogeneity: Estimating the demand for tobacco," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 49-72, November.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 61, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Baltagi, Badi H & Griffin, James M, 2001. "The Econometrics of Rational Addiction: The Case of Cigarettes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 449-54, October.
  7. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 1997. "Women and Substance Use: Are Women Less Susceptible to Addiction?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 454-59, May.
  8. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Koszegi, 2000. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1998. "Myopia and Addictive Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 75-91, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Miljkovic, Dragan & Nganje, William & de Chastenet, Helene, 2008. "Economic factors affecting the increase in obesity in the United States: Differential response to price," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 48-60, February.

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