Can a Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa?

42 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2009 Last revised: 19 Jul 2010

See all articles by Robert S. Goldfarb

Robert S. Goldfarb

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Thomas C. (Tim) Leonard

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Sara Markowitz

Emory University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Steve Suranovic

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

Can a rational choice modeling framework help broaden our understanding of anorexia nervosa? This question is interesting because anorexia nervosa is a serious health concern, and because of the following issue: could a rational choice approach shed useful light on a condition which appears to involve "choosing" to be ill? We present a model of weight choice and dieting applicable to anorexia nervosa, and the sometimes-associated purging behavior. We also present empirical evidence about factors possibly contributing to anorexia nervosa. We offer this analysis as a consciousness-raising way of thinking about the condition.

Suggested Citation

Goldfarb, Robert S. and Leonard, Thomas C. (Tim) and Markowitz, Sara and Suranovic, Steve, Can a Rational Choice Framework Make Sense of Anorexia Nervosa? (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14838. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1373347

Robert S. Goldfarb

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Monroe Hall, Suite 340
2115 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-6147 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

Thomas C. (Tim) Leonard

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard

Sara Markowitz (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States
(212) 817-7968 (Phone)

Steve Suranovic

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

602 Funger Hall
2201 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-7579 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://home.gwu.edu/~smsuran/

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