Economic models of pathological gambling
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In D. Ross, D. Kincaid, D. Spurrett & P. Collins (eds.), What is Addiction? MIT Press 131--158 (2010)
Pathological gambling (PG) is a kind of ‘ideal puzzle’ for the economic model of the consumer. The pathological gambler takes pains to engage in activity that transparently has negative expected returns if utility varies positively with money. She also, typically, spends further resources on commitment devices designed to interfere with her gambling. These properties together describe an agent that is a kind of perfect foil for the rationally maximizing consumer. Recently, aspects of the neuropathology underlying the strange economic agency of the pathological gambler are becoming understood. Thus PG is an ideal test bed phenomenon for working out relationships between economic modeling based on constrained optimization of utility and the new neuroscience of behavior.
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