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La notion d'addiction en économie : la théorie du choix rationnel à l'épreuve

The aim of this article is to analyze the economic literature from the last thirty years in the field of addiction and to study its relation to the theory of rational choice (TRC). We show that the application of the TRC to addictive behaviors appeared in a context of reciprocity of stakes, i.e. the promotion of this theoretical framework and the explanation of this a priori irrational behavior. It allowed to emphasize the major influence of economic determinants such as prices, which were previously excluded from the analysis. Recent developments of the economic theory of addiction, via behavioral economics in particular, lead however to operate a distinction between revealed preferences and normative preferences and limit the use of the TRC in a normative perspective.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number r08054.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:r08054
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