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Toddler economicus: childhood habit cessation in a Beckerian Model of pacifier use

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As a test of elements of Gary Becker's model of habitual behaviours, the present study examines another potential example of a habit - pacifier use - within the youngest segment of the population, infants and toddlers. To explore the facets of a child's pacifier habit, we make use of an extensive questionnaire on the effectiveness of several proposed methods for stopping a child's pacifier consumption. Results indicate that children's pacifier use approaches the habit/addiction threshold, and it is best alleviated with abrupt cessation, or 'cold turkey.' Interestingly, our empirical finding that 'cold turkey' dominates or is superior to other methods of getting children to stop relying on pacifier use (e.g. limiting time of use, altering the pacifier's tip, etc.) has two implications. First, it supports the Beckerian notion that a child's pacifier habit approaches the habit/addiction threshold, as stated above. Second, it contradicts suggestions from many in the health profession to seek methods other than 'cold turkey' to stop a child's pacifier use.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA 2: School of Law, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, USA

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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