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Rational Choice Theory Of Addictive Behavior

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In recent decades, economic analysis is no longer only applied to economic phenomena, instead, the economic approach has made significant contributions to the study of crime. Economists as one of the latest entrants start the research of crime with its dominant paradigm, rational choice theory. It is stated by Albertson & Fox (2011), the approach predicts potential criminals are rational and makes a hypothesis that people make choice by balancing cost and benefit and incentive structure. Economists can identify the prices of any goods, including the choice of committing crime, and determine the expected relationship between crime and punishment. For the supporters of rational choice theory, they stated that even addictive behavior is the same as any other economic behavior (Tomer, 2001). It should be mentioned that the analysis of addictive behavior was reserved for other non-economic disciplines for a long time. Through a sociological perspective, addictive behavior, such as alcohol or drug abuse, is…show more content…
For a long time, most economists thought that the consumption of addictive goods was not subject to the same economic laws with other consumption, while they treated it the same as any other consumption by ignoring its addictive nature. Many of them also thought that the changes in the costs of addictive products would have little impact on addicts’ use. However, in recent decades, economists have begun to apply the standard framework of rational choice theory to the analysis of addiction. Economists considered that potential drug user have the ability to balance the benefits and costs of consuming an addictive goods and make a rational choice (Becker & Murphy, 1988). Just as any rational criminal, if the benefits exceed the cost of consuming addictive substance, addicts will choose to do so. This is a so-called rational addiction raised by Becker and Murphy
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