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Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences

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  • O’Donoghue, Ted
  • Rabin, Matthew

Abstract

We investigate the role that self-control problems — modeled as time-inconsistent, present-biased preferences —and a person’s awareness of those problems might play in leading people to develop and maintain harmful addictions. Present-biased preferences create a tendency to over-consume addictive products, and awareness of future self-control problems can mitigate or exacerbate this over-consumption, depending on the environment. Our central concern is the welfare consequences of this over-consumption. Our analysis suggests that for realistic environments self-control problems are a plausible source of severely harmful addictions only in conjunction with some unawareness of future self-control problems.

Suggested Citation

  • O’Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3v86x53j, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt3v86x53j
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    Cited by:

    1. Henrekson, Magnus & Dreber, Anna, 2004. "Female Career Success: Institutions, Path Dependence and Psychology," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 574, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 25 Jan 2007.
    2. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    3. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: Some Issues from Behavioral Economics," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 29-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Berg, Nathan & Kim, Jeong-Yoo, 2010. "Demand for Self Control: A model of Consumer Response to Programs and Products that Moderate Consumption," MPRA Paper 26593, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2002. "Addiction and Cue-Conditioned Cognitive Processes," NBER Working Papers 9329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Grignon, Michel, 2009. "An empirical investigation of heterogeneity in time preferences and smoking behaviors," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 739-751, October.
    7. Persichina, Marco, 2016. "Cascading Defections from Cooperation Triggered by Present-Biased Behaviors in the Commons," MPRA Paper 83131, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Nov 2017.
    8. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
    9. Vincze, János & Koltay, Gábor, 2009. "Fogyasztói döntések a viselkedési közgazdaságtan szemszögéből
      [Consumer decisions from the angle of behavioural economics]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 495-525.
    10. Giovanni Ponti & Ismael Rodríguez Lara & Daniela Di Cagno, 2014. "Doing it now or later with payoff externalities: Experimental evidence on social time preferences," Working Papers. Serie AD 2014-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    11. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Giamboni, Luigi & Waldmann, Robert, 2007. "Cigarette smoking, pregnancy, forward looking behavior and dynamic inconsistency," MPRA Paper 8878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Smith, Trenton G. & Tasnadi, Attila, 2007. "A theory of natural addiction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 316-344, May.
    13. Kan, Kamhon, 2007. "Cigarette smoking and self-control," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 61-81, January.
    14. repec:kap:theord:v:83:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11238-017-9625-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Xavier Giné & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 213-235, October.
    16. 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.
    17. Trenton Smith & Young H. Lee, 2006. "Why are Americans Addicted to Baseball? An Empirical Analysis of Fandom in Korea and the U.S," Working Papers 2006-05, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    18. David (David Patrick) Madden, 2002. "Setting the appropriate tax on cigarettes in Ireland," Working Papers 200225, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    19. López, Rafael, 2015. "Beneficial and Harmful Addictions: Two sides of the same coin," REVISTA LECTURAS DE ECONOMÍA, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE, issue 84, pages 9-31, September.
    20. D.Dragone, 2005. "Incoerenza Dinamica ed Autocontrollo: Proposta per un'Analisi Interdisciplinare," Working Papers 549, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    21. Teck H. Ho & Noah Lim & Colin Camerer, 2005. "Modeling the Psychology of Consumer and Firm Behavior with Behavioral Economics," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000476, UCLA Department of Economics.
    22. Ryota Nakamura & Marc Suhrcke & Daniel John Zizzo, 2017. "A triple test for behavioral economics models and public health policy," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 513-533.
    23. Makarov, Uliana, 2011. "Networking or not working: A model of social procrastination from communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 574-585.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    addiction; hyperbolic discounting; naivete; present-biased preferences; self control; sophistication; time inconsistency;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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