Comparing exponential and exponentiated models of drug demand in cocaine users

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36 Scopus citations


Drug purchase tasks provide rapid and efficient measurement of drug demand. Zero values (i.e., prices with zero consumption) present a quantitative challenge when using exponential demand models that exponentiated models may resolve. We aimed to replicate and advance the utility of using an exponentiated model by demonstrating construct validity (i.e., association with real-world drug use) and generalizability across drug commodities. Participants (N = 40 cocaine-using adults) completed Cocaine, Alcohol, and Cigarette Purchase Tasks evaluating hypothetical consumption across changes in price. Exponentiated and exponential models were fit to these data using different treatments of zero consumption values, including retaining zeros or replacing them with 0.1, 0.01, or 0.001. Excellent model fits were observed with the exponentiated model. Means and precision fluctuated with different replacement values when using the exponential model but were consistent for the exponentiated model. The exponentiated model provided the strongest correlation between derived demand intensity (Q0) and self-reported free consumption in all instances (Cocaine r ± .88; Alcohol r = .97; Cigarette r = .91). Cocaine demand elasticity was positively correlated with alcohol and cigarette elasticity. Exponentiated parameters were associated with real-world drug use (e.g., weekly cocaine use) whereas these correlations were less consistent for exponential parameters. Our findings show that selection of zero replacement values affects demand parameters and their association with drug-use outcomes when using the exponential model but not the exponentiated model. This work supports the adoption of the exponentiated demand model by replicating improved fit and consistency and demonstrating construct validity and generalizability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-455
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Alcohol
  • Behavioral economics
  • Cigarettes
  • Demand curve
  • Purchase task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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