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Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Ted O'Donoghue

    (Cornell University)

  • Matthew Rabin

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

We investigate the role that self-control problems modeled as time-inconsistent, present-biased preferences and a person's awareness of those problems might play in leading people to develop and maintain harmful addictions. Present-biased preferences create a tendency to over-consume addictive products, and awareness of future self-control problems can mitigate or exacerbate this over-consumption, depending on the environment. Our central concern is the welfare consequences of this over-consumption. Our analysis suggests that for realistic environments self-control problems are a plausible source of severely harmful addictions only in conjunction with some unawareness of future self- control problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Game Theory and Information 0303005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0303005
    Note: 53 pages, Acrobat .pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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