Public Lecture

Faculty of Business Public Lecture

sponsored by the Centre for Human and Social Capital Research

The Economics of Addiction

Economics had traditionally relied on the presumption that people act in their own self-interest – they choose what they like, within their economic circumstances, and what they choose tells us how much they like what they choose. This idea is one of only a handful of concepts that economists use to think about many policy issues. But economists view mistakes as random and not systematic. In particular, economics has not handled actions that people regret very well. But economists have been quick to borrow ideas from elsewhere to extend their range. This talk is about what economists can usefully contribute to understanding addictions and how to treat them – in part, illustrated with reference to gambling.

Professor Ian Walker

Presenter: Professor Ian Walker

Professor Ian Walker has wide research interests across applied microeconomics, including education economics, labour economics, and risk and gambling. He has held a variety of advisory positions in the British Government.
Professor Walker has been an academic economist for over 40 years: he currently is Professor of Economics at Lancaster. From 1998 to 2009 he was Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. From 1987 to 1998 he was Professor of Economics at the University of Keele. He was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London for most of his career. He is a Founding Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) in Bonn where he currently is the Research Director in Education Economics. He has held several Visiting Professor positions, including Princeton University, Paris II, Sydney University, UNSW, Melbourne University, Arhus University.

Last reviewed: 6 March, 2019