The Behavioral Economics of Drug Dependence: Towards the Consilience of Economics and Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Warren K. BickelEmail author
  • Richard Yi
  • E. Terry Mueller
  • Bryan A. Jones
  • Darren R. Christensen
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 3)


In this chapter, we review the research in this growing field by first discussing the concepts related to price and consumption (demand), its applications to the study of drug consumption and drug seeking, and the impact of other commodities on drug consumption. We then review the discounting of future commodities and events among the addicted, review the most recent research examining the neural correlates of discounting, and describe and review the new theory of addiction that results from that research. We conclude by addressing the next research steps that these advances engender.


Behavioral economics Demand curve Demand intensity Price elasticity Commodity interactions Cross-price elasticity Substitute-complement continuum Delay discounting Hyperbolic delay function Preference reversals Impulsivity Temporal horizon Past discounting Neural correlates Brain imaging Competing neurobehavioral systems Impulsive system Executive system 



Functional MRI



The writing of this chapter was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grants R37 DA 006526-18, R01 DA 11692-10, R01 DA022386-02, and R01 DA024080-01A1, Wilbur Mills Chair Endowment, and in part by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, a partnership of scientists from Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas-Division of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The Arkansas Biosciences Institute is the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren K. Bickel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard Yi
    • 1
  • E. Terry Mueller
    • 1
  • Bryan A. Jones
    • 1
  • Darren R. Christensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Addiction Research, University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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