Behavioral economic demand modeling chronology, complexities, and considerations: Much ado about zeros

Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Brent A. Kaplan, Christopher T. Franck, Mark J. Rzeszutek, Haily K. Traxler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Behavioral economic demand has been shown to have high utility in quantifying the value or consumption of a commodity. Demand describes the relationship between cost and consumption of a commodity, and tends to be curvilinear with consumption approaching zero as the cost increases to a sufficiently high cost to suppress consumption completely. Over a period spanning greater than three decades, behavioral economists have made great strides in the modeling of demand and addressing analytical challenges, although this work is not complete and unresolved challenges remain. The analytical challenges associated with modeling zeros both when they arise as consumption values of zero and when consumption at zero cost is assessed have been a substantial part of this evolution in models. The goals of this methodological review are to provide a historical overview of the major behavioral economic demand models that have been proposed, describe some of the common difficulties with analyzing behavioral economic demand, and discuss general considerations for the analysis of demand. In an environment with evolving and multiple competing analytical practices, we conclude that researchers can maximize scientific rigor by embracing transparency in their analysis choices and employing techniques such as sensitivity analyses to determine if their analysis choices impact the conclusions of their experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104646
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01 AA026605 to Mikhail Koffarnus and by a fellowship to Haily Traxler under the Clinical and Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health award number TL1 TR001997 . 100% of this research was supported by federal or state money with no financial or nonfinancial support from nongovernmental sources. The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funding source did not have a role in writing this manuscript or in the decision to submit it for publication. All authors had full access to the content of this manuscript and the corresponding author had final responsibility for the decision to submit these data for publication. Mikhail Koffarnus, Brent Kaplan, and Christopher Franck developed the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior talk that was the basis for this manuscript. All authors contributed to drafting the manuscript. Mark Rzeszutek led the data analyses. All authors assisted with data interpretation and approved the final version of the manuscript. All authors have no known conflicts of interest to disclose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Behavioral economic demand
  • Nonlinear mixed effect models
  • Purchase task
  • Statistical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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