Economics and Antihealth Behavior

The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse

Published in: Reframing Health Behavior Change with Behavioral Economics / Bickel, W.K., Vuchinich, R.E. (eds). (Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum and Associated, Inc., 2000), Chapter 4, p. 89-111

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Frank J. Chaloupka, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

This chapter reviews work that applies economic principles to the analysis of substance use and abuse. Specifically, we examine the impact of prices and public policies on the demands for tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs and on related outcomes. The findings from these studies clearly demonstrate that even in the case of addictive commodities, the law of demand still applies. Given the well-documented health and other consequences of substance use and abuse, policies lowering use, particularly by youth, are likely to result in significant long-run improvements in health.

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