Cristin-resultat-ID: 1060790
Sist endret: 28. oktober 2016, 16:37
Vitenskapelig artikkel

Kan økonomisk teori forklare etterspørselen etter avhengighetsgoder

  • Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen


Norsk Økonomisk Tidsskrift
ISSN 0801-9568
NVI-nivå 0

Om resultatet

Vitenskapelig artikkel
Publiseringsår: 2001
Hefte: 115
Sider: 77 - 106

Beskrivelse Beskrivelse


Kan økonomisk teori forklare etterspørselen etter avhengighetsgoder


Avhengighet er en utfordring for økonomisk teori. Kan for eksempel en heroin- avhengig antas å handle i tråd med forutsetningene om rasjonell og konsistent nyttemaksismering? «Ja», hevder enkelte økonomer, men uenigheten er stor. Økonomers interesse for avhengighet og fenomenets innflytelse på teori- og modellutforming har økt mye det siste tiåret, spesielt etter publiseringen av «The theory of rational addiction» (Becker og Murphy 1988). Vi vil i denne artikkelen fokusere på hvordan økonomer har inkorporert avhengighet i sine analyser av konsumentatferd og diskutere de mulige løsningene som er foreslått.


Can economic theory explain demand for addictive goods?


The paper reviews ways in which economists have approached individuals' demand for addictive goods and it discusses the contribution of economics to the field. Traditionally, economic consumer theory has been concerned with individual choices under constraints, i.a., individuals' responses to changes in income and prices. A phenomenon like addiction has been given little attention. Based on the standard assumptions of utility maximisation, stable preferences, etc. little effort has been spent on examining why people start consuming a certain good or why they eventually cease it. In addition, problematic consumption patterns like the ones associated with addictive goods have been discussed more within other disciplines than among economists. There are, however, exceptions and the paper considers the main economic contributions to the field. Addiction arises in the interplay between properties inherent in the good and characteristics of the person involved. The theories and models reviewed in here have placed different emphasis on these various elements. The approaches have varied from virtual ignorance of addiction elements by treating the addictive good as any other commodity, to comprehensive and well-thought-out theories that aim at taking most well-known features of addiction into account. The more inclusive theories of addiction seek also to explain factors that impact on starting and quitting drug use and empirical phenomena such as relapse, participation in organisations like AA, purchase of helpmeets to reduce consumption, etc. In between, there are approaches that have allowed for the effect of past consumption on present consumption through different specifications of "lagged" consumption, through preference modification, and through changes in the individual's production function of the human capital type. Many of these models are labelled "myopic" as they do not fully take into account possible future consequences of current actions. Another important group of theories assume that the agents are non-rational in the sense that they do not fulfil the requirements of time consistency. Individuals may be assumed to have stable, but inconsistent preferences ("divided selves") or their time preferences are non-stable and endogenous. The group of rational theories, in which the agents are assumed to consistently maximise utility over time, has increased considerably since Becker and Murphy (1988) launched their theory of rational addiction. One section of the paper explores Becker and Murphy’s theory in some detail because it was in the wake of its publication that theoretical developments forged ahead and because it adopts more than do other models the basic premises of neoclassical consumer theory. Both the theory and subsequent empirical works have been met with criticism, however, from several quarters. The paper attempts to provide an idea and an assessment of this critique. The final section of this paper discusses the contribution of economics and suggests that economics has more to offer when analysing the behaviour of active users than in explaining decisions related to starting up and quitting.


Aktiv cristin-person

Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen

  • Tilknyttet:
    ved Avdeling for rusmidler og tobakk ved Folkehelseinstituttet
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