The Welfare Implications of Addictive Substances: A Longitudinal Study of Life Satisfaction of Drug Users

By: Julie Moschion (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne) ; Nattavudh Powdthavee (Warwick Business School; and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics)
This paper provides an empirical test of the rational addiction model, used in economics to model individuals’ consumption of addictive substances, versus the utility misprediction model, used in psychology to explain the discrepancy between people’s decision and their subsequent experiences. By exploiting a unique data set of disadvantaged Australians, we provide longitudinal evidence that a drop in life satisfaction tends to precede the use of illegal/street drugs. We also find that the abuse of alcohol, the daily use of cannabis and the weekly use of illegal/street drugs in the past 6 months relate to lower current levels of life satisfaction. This provides empirical support for the utility misprediction model. Further, we find that the decrease in life satisfaction following the consumption of illegal/street drugs persists 6 months to a year after use. In contrast, the consumption of cigarettes is unrelated to life satisfaction in the close past or the near future. Our results, though only illustrative, suggest that measures of individual’s subjective wellbeing should be examined together with data on revealed preferences when testing models of rational decision-making.
Keywords: Life satisfaction, rational addiction, drugs, homeless, Australia, happiness
JEL: D03 I12 I18 I30
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2017n32&r=ltv
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: