A behavioral economic analysis of concurrently available money and cigarettes

J Exp Anal Behav. 1994 Mar;61(2):191-201. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1994.61-191.


In economic terms, consumption of a reinforcer is determined by its price and the availability and price of other reinforcers. This study examined the effects of response-requirement (i.e., price) manipulations on the self-administration of two concurrently available reinforcers. Six cigarette smokers participated in 4-hr sessions in which money and puffs on a cigarette were concurrently available according to fixed-ratio schedules of reinforcement. Once stable responding was obtained with both reinforcers available at Fixed Ratio 100, the response requirement for one reinforcer was systematically varied (Fixed Ratio 1,000 and 2,500), while the other reinforcer remained scheduled at Fixed Ratio 100. Increasing the fixed-ratio size for a reinforcer decreased its consumption, with a greater decrease occurring for monetary reinforcement. This finding was quantified in economic terms as own-price elasticity, with elasticity coefficients greater for money than cigarettes. The effects of fixed-ratio size on response output also differed across the two reinforcers. Although greater responding occurred for money at Fixed Ratio 100, increases in fixed-ratio size (for money) decreased responding for money, whereas the same increase in fixed-ratio size (for puffs) increased responding for puffs. Finally, increasing the fixed-ratio size for one reinforcer had little effect on consumption of the other concurrently available reinforcer. This finding was quantified as cross-price elasticity, with elasticity coefficients near 0.0 for most subjects, indicating little or no reinforcer interaction. The results indicate that the reinforcing effects of cigarettes and money in the setting studied here differed, and that the effects produced by changing the price of one reinforcer did not interact with the consumption of the other concurrently available reinforcer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Tobacco*