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Addiction and Cue-Conditioned Cognitive Processes

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  • B. Douglas Bernheim
  • Antonio Rangel

Abstract

We propose an economic theory of addiction based on the premise that cognitive mechanisms such as attention affect behavior independently of preferences. We argue that the theory is consistent with foundational evidence (e.g. from neurosciencee and psychology) concerning the nature of decision-making and addiction. The model is analytically tractable, and it accounts for a broad range of stylized facts concerning addiction. It also generates a plausible qualitative mapping from the characteristics of substances into consumption patterns, thereby providing a basis for empirical tests. Finally, the theory provides a clear standard for evaluating social welfare, and it has a number of striking policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2002. "Addiction and Cue-Conditioned Cognitive Processes," NBER Working Papers 9329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9329
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
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    4. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
    5. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Warner, Kenneth E., 2000. "The economics of smoking," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 29, pages 1539-1627 Elsevier.
    6. 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.
    7. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1995. "Rational Addiction with Learning and Regret," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 739-758, August.
    8. David Laibson, 2001. "A Cue-Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 81-119.
    9. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    10. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
    11. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
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    13. MacCoun,Robert J. & Reuter,Peter, 2001. "Drug War Heresies," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521799973, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Kevin X.D. Huang & Zheng Liu & John Qi Zhu, 2015. "Temptation and Self‐Control: Some Evidence and Applications," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(4), pages 581-615, June.
    4. Kevin X. D. Huang & Zheng Liu & Qi Zhu, 2005. "Temptation and Self-Control: Some Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Emory Economics 0507, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    5. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Giamboni, Luigi & Waldmann, Robert, 2007. "Cigarette smoking, pregnancy, forward looking behavior and dynamic inconsistency," MPRA Paper 8878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Case for Mindless Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000581, David K. Levine.
    7. D.Dragone, 2005. "Incoerenza Dinamica ed Autocontrollo: Proposta per un'Analisi Interdisciplinare," Working Papers 549, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Camelia Kuhnen & Brian Knutson, 2005. "The Neural Basis of Financial Risk Taking," Experimental 0509001, EconWPA.
    9. Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Knutson, Brian, 2011. "The Influence of Affect on Beliefs, Preferences, and Financial Decisions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 605-626, June.
    10. Smith, Trenton G. & Tasnadi, Attila, 2007. "A theory of natural addiction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 316-344, May.
    11. 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.
    12. López Rafael, 2006. "Addiction and Self-Control: An Intrapersonal Game," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, August.
    13. John Whalley, 2005. "Rationality, Irrationality and Economic Cognition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1445, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Steven M. Suranovic & Robert S. Goldfarb, 2005. "A Behavioral Model of Cyclical Dieting," HEW 0511002, EconWPA.
    15. Pirouz, Dante, 2004. "The Neuroscience of Consumer Decision-Making," MPRA Paper 2181, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Jan 2006.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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