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More on Drug Addiction

In response to my latest post on drug addiction and my conjecture that drug users really do want to quit, Eapen sent me a link to a fascinating article by Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy, A Theory of Rational Addiction. Because my internet cafe time is short, I've been unable to delve into the technical analysis, but the gist is pretty simple:

In our theory of rational addiction, "rational" means that individuals
maximize utility consistently over time, and a good is potentially addictive if
increases in past consumption raise current consumption. We show that
steady-state consumption of addictive goods is unstable when the degree of
addiction is strong, that is, when the complementarity between past and current
consumption is strong. Unstable steady states are a major tool in our analysis
of addictive behavior. Consumption rises over time when above unstable
steady-state levels, and it falls over time, perhaps until abstention, when
below unstable steady states.