Cover of The Economics of Excess by Harold Winter
The Economics of Excess
Addiction, Indulgence, and Social Policy
Harold Winter


208 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804761475
Paperback ISBN: 9780804761482
Ebook ISBN: 9780804780674

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Winner of the 2012 Outstanding Academic Title Award, sponsored by Choice.

The Economics of Excess discusses both standard and behavioral economics as they apply to addiction, indulgence, and social policy.

Chapter One provides a thorough discussion of economic models of addiction. The model developed in most detail takes into account both standard and behavioral approaches. The next three chapters examine specific indulgences: smoking, drinking, and overeating. The heart of this book is its comprehensive discussion of what is often referred to as the "new paternalism." Many economists are now challenging the more traditional belief that, unless they are harming others, people should be left to their own indulgences. As more and more economists are arguing for policies that are designed to protect people from themselves, this book offers a serious, yet accessible, discussion of the pros and cons of such interventions.

Written in an approachable style, this book will serve researchers who are new to the economics of addiction and students in a variety of economics and policy courses alike.

About the author

Harold Winter is Professor of Economics at Ohio University, Athens, OH. He is the author of Trade-Offs: An Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues and The Economics of Crime: An Introduction to Rational Crime Analysis.

"This must addition to the reading list of courses in behavioral economics and health economics would also be of value to students of economic policy. Students will benefit from Winter's careful delineation of differences in the assumptions used in models and the differences in findings that result from choices in empirical testing. . . Highly recommended."

—M. H. Lesser, Choice

"As an introduction to and assessment of important social and health-related issues, this volume is highly readable and non-technical, and it makes for thought-provoking reading."

Health Affairs

"This is a wide-ranging overview of a vast literature that summarizes highly technical material in an easily accessible and non-technical manner. Winter is to be commended for his selection of topics and studies to emphasize."

—Joni Hersch, Vanderbilt Law School

"Harold Winter's superbly written diagnosis of smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse shows the tremendous power of economic analysis in illuminating these most challenging risky behaviors. The Economics of Excess provides an engaging tour through issues such as addiction as well as a deft assessment of paternalistic interventions."

—W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, Vanderbilt University

"Here's an enthusiastic (though suitably sober) toast to The Economics of Excess! It provides a lively and accessible introduction to the new behavioral economics of addiction, rescuing an intrinsically fascinating topic from the tedium of scholarly formalisms. It's a great initiation for students and teachers alike."

—Philip J. Cook, Duke University and author of Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control