Hamilton, Stephen F.

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Hamilton, Stephen F.
Models of rational addiction suggest that obesity is consistent with time-consistent preferences. Behavioral economists maintain that addictions such as alcoholism, smoking and over-eating represent examples of present-bias in decision making that is fundamentally irrational. In this article, conduct an experiment to test whether individual discount schedules are time-consistent and whether discount rates are higher for subjects who exhibit patterns of risky behavior. Our results show that discount functions are quasi-hyperbolic in shape, and that obesity and drinking are positively related to the discount rate. Anti-obesity policy, therefore, would be best directed to informing individuals as to the long-term implications of short-term gratification, rather than taxing foods directly
By: Richards, Timothy J.; Hamilton, Stephen F.; Patterson, Paul M.
Private labels, also known as store brands, are an important component of competitive strategy among multi-product retailers, as they can increase retailers’ power over suppliers in the vertical channel or facilitate horizontal differentiation among retailers. This paper seeks to identify the relative importance of each role, conditional on the location of both private labels and national brands of ice cream in attribute space. We find that retailers’ share of the total margin (retail price less production cost) is higher for private labels than national brands when retailers choose to imitate national brands with their own offerings.
By: Richards, Timothy J.; Patterson, Paul M.; Hamilton, Stephen F.
Many attribute the rise in obesity since the early 1980's to the overconsumption of fast food. A dynamic model of a different-product industry equilibrium shows that a firm with market power will price below marginal cost in a steady-state equilibrium. A spatial hedonic pricing model is used to test whether fast food firms set prices in order to exploit their inherent addictiveness. The results show that firms price products dense in addictive nutrients below marginal cost, but price products high in nonaddictive nutrients higher than would be the case in perfect competition.