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Addiction, Compulsion, and the Technology of Consumption


  • Michaels, Robert J


The consumption technology model of K. J. Lancaster and G. S. Becker is extended to include addictive activities. Assum ing a utility function in which the individual places a premium on ma intenance of self-esteem, the model generates empirically verified pa tterns of habituation, withdrawal, and the compulsive restarting of a n abandoned habit. It is then applied to the analysis of public polic ies toward drug abuse. Their frequent ineffectiveness is shown to res ult from an unwarranted emphasis on deterring the addictive activity rather than on encouraging acceptable behavior. Copyright 1988 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Michaels, Robert J, 1988. "Addiction, Compulsion, and the Technology of Consumption," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 75-88, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:26:y:1988:i:1:p:75-88

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    Cited by:

    1. Jones, Andrew M., 1999. "Adjustment costs, withdrawal effects, and cigarette addiction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 125-137, January.
    2. Sophie Massin, 2011. "La notion d'addiction en économie : La théorie du choix rationnel à l'épreuve," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 121(5), pages 713-750.
    3. Frank, Bjorn, 1997. "On Samuel Cameron's 'The economics of preference change: The case of arts therapy'," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 465-468, June.

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