I am a research master student in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, with the specialization/track Neuroeconomics and have to come up with a master thesis subject soon. I was thinking about gambling addiction and had some ideas of first theoratically explaining it with utility functions that are risk-seeking and use Arrow-Pratt measure of risk aversion. Does anyone have other theories in mind that can contribute to the microeconomical explenation of gambling addiction? Or perhaps someone having a "theory" of their own? I would love to see some ideas from others to get some inspiration!

  • $\begingroup$ Look into discontinous time preferences. David Kreps talks about it $\endgroup$
    – EconJohn
    Dec 30, 2019 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that the topic is related to rational addiction: Individual preferences for consuming $x_t$ are conditioned by their past consumption $x_{t-1}$. See for instance:

Becker, G., and Murphy, K. (1988). A Theory of Rational Addiction. Journal of Political Economy, 96(4), 675-700.


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