The endowment effect and temporal discounting of drug and non-drug commodities

Sean D. Regnier, Mark J. Rzeszutek, Justin C. Strickland, Thomas P. Shellenberg, William W. Stoops

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Despite a rich history of behavioral economic research on substance use there remains a need for further exploration of behavioral mechanisms that may underlie the etiology or persistence of substance use disorder. The purpose of this study was to measure the association between delay discounting and the endowment effect in people who smoke cigarettes, use cocaine, and controls, using online crowdsourcing. Methods: Participants were categorized to a cocaine group (n = 36), cigarette group (n = 48), or control group (n = 47) based on recent reported drug use. Based on group, participants completed up to three delay discounting tasks (i.e., money, cigarettes and cocaine), an endowment effect task for multiple commodities, and other questionnaires. Results: Participants in the cocaine and cigarette group demonstrated an increased rate in discounting for money compared to controls. Participants in the cocaine group had a less pronounced endowment effect for beer, compared to controls, as suggested by willingness to accept less to sell beer. A significant negative association was found between endowment ratios for non-drug commodities and delay discounting for cigarettes, but not monetary or cocaine delay discounting, indicating an inconsistent relationship between the two measures. Conclusions: These results support prior research demonstrating a relationship between cocaine and cigarette use and delay discounting and extend that work by measuring the association between delay discounting and the endowment effect. Future research should include both loss aversion and endowment effect tasks and compare their relationship with delay discounting among people that use drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173638
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Behavioral economics
  • Delay discounting
  • Endowment effect
  • Loss aversion
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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