Marit Hinnosaar, Elaine Liu, 18 October 2020

Alcohol is one of the leading killers among substances, but little is known how various factors interact to affect individual alcohol consumption. This column explores how much the environment –, including supply conditions, alcohol regulation, taxes, and peers – drives alcohol consumption, by analysing changes in alcohol purchases when US consumers move from one state to another. The current environment explains about two-thirds of the differences in alcohol purchases, with consumers’ alcohol purchases converging sharply toward the average purchase level in their destination state right after moving.

Tiziano Arduini, Alberto Bisin, Onur Ozgur, Eleonora Patacchini, 27 November 2019

Smoking and alcohol use are widespread among adolescents in the US and are linked to negative socioeconomic effects.While existing research has separately looked at the dynamic choice and the social interactions that shape adolescent risky behaviours, this column considers both components in a dynamic social interactions model. Looking at alcohol and smoking use in a school environment, it finds that addiction and peer effects are more than twice as important as the effect of individual preferences in shaping risky behaviour and that students take into account the amount of time they have left in the school system.

Peter Schwardmann, 02 August 2019

Despite all the evidence to the contrary we continue to overestimate how much work we will do tomorrow, or how often we will go to the gym. Why? Peter Schwardmann tells Tim Phillips that we do learn from experience about ourselves - in the right circumstances.

Yves Le Yaouanq, Peter Schwardmann, 10 June 2019

Naiveté about one’s lack of self-control can result in costly mistakes. In order to shed his or her naiveté, an individual needs to learn from his or her past lapses in self-control. This column examines whether people are able to draw the correct inferences from their past behaviour. It reports on experimental evidence that people learn well from their past effort on a task and are able to transport what they learn to new environments. However, they appear to underappreciate how much self-knowledge experience with a task will provide.

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