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Can A Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Sara Markowitz & Steven Suranovic, 2009. "Can A Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?," NBER Working Papers 14838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14838 Note: CH HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    2. Robert Goldfarb & Thomas C. Leonard & Steven Suranovic, 2006. "Modeling Alternative Motives for Dieting," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 115-131, Winter.
    3. 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, July.
    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. 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.
    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. 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.
    8. Steven M. Suranovic & Robert S. Goldfarb, 2005. "A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting," HEW 0511002, EconWPA.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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