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Cue-Triggered Addiction and Natural Recovery


  • Chiara MOcenni


  • Giuseppe Montefrancesco


  • Silvia Tiezzi



In this paper we propose a model of natural recovery, a widespread yet unexplained aspect of addictive behavior, starting from the recent theory developed by Bernheim and Rangel (2004). While the Bernheim and Rangel model generates many distinctive patterns of addiction, it does not explicitly consider pathways to natural recovery. Based on insights from neurosciences, we introduce an ”implicit cognitive appraisal” process depending on past experiences as well as on future expected consequences of addictive consumption. Such function affects the individual in two ways: it erodes the payoff from use as the decision maker grows older and it increases the cognitive control competing with the hedonic impulses to use, thus reducing the probability of making mistakes. While we do recognize the importance of allowing for cue-triggered mistakes in individual decision making, our model recovers an important role for cognitive processes, such as subjective cost-benefit evaluations, in explaining natural recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara MOcenni & Giuseppe Montefrancesco & Silvia Tiezzi, 2007. "Cue-Triggered Addiction and Natural Recovery," Department of Economics University of Siena 505, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:505

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2004. "Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1558-1590, December.
    2. David Laibson, 2001. "A Cue-Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 81-119.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    More about this item


    Addiction models; natural recovery; behavioral economics; cognitive policy; neuroscience.;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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