Do Addicts Behave Rationally?
The theory of rational addiction assumes that addicts' behavior is fully rational. Common sense and psychological introspection suggest, however, that addictive behavior is irrational. Without knowledge of the addicts' preferences this dispute cannot be resolved. This paper reports the results of an experiment in which addictive preferences were induced. It turns out that 'addicts' consume systematically too much compared to the optimal consumption decision. The authors explain this systematic excess consumption in terms of the psychologically salient features of addictive goods. Copyright 1998 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.
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- 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.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- George Loewenstein & Richard H Thaler, 2003. "Anomalies: Intertemporal Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000784, David K. Levine.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
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