University of Otago    
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Studying Economics

Trenton G. Smith

Trent SmithBAS, MS (Stanford), MA, PhD (UC-Santa Barbara)

Trent's research interests lie primarily in the area of behavioral economics. Drawing on evidence from a wide array of behavioral sciences - including psychology, anthropology, behavioral ecology, neuroendocrinology, and molecular biology - he applies theoretical and empirical methods from economics to phenomena such as addiction, obesity, economic insecurity, and television advertisements. He has previously worked at Washington State University (US), the University of California, Los Angeles (US), and the University of Bonn (Germany). His teaching at Otago includes introductory business statistics and behavioural economics.

Contact details

Office CO701
Tel 64 3 479 4596


Current Teaching


Curriculum Vitae

Trent's CV


Selected Publications

"The McDonald's Equilibrium: Advertising, Empty Calories, and the Endogenous Determination of Dietary Preferences," 2004, Social Choice and Welfare, 23(3), 383-413.

"A Theory of Natural Addiction," (with A. Tasnádi), 2007, Games and Economic Behavior, 59, 316-344.

"Why Are Americans Addicted to Baseball? An Empirical Analysis of Fandom in Korea and the U.S," (with Y.H. Lee), 2008, Contemporary Economic Policy, 26(1), 32-48.

"Why the Poor Get Fat: Weight Gain and Economic Insecurity," (with C. Stoddard and M.G.Barnes), 2009, Forum for Health Economics & Policy, 12(2), Article 5.

"Reconciling Psychology with Economics: Obesity, Behavioral Biology, and Rational Overeating," 2009, Journal of Bioeconomics. 11(3), 249-282.

"Tobacco Use as Response to Economic Insecurity: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," (with M.G. Barnes), 2009, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 9(1) (Contributions), Article 47.

"Why (and When) are Preferences Convex? Threshold Effects and Uncertain Quality," (with A. Tasnádi), 2009, The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, 9(1) (Topics), Article 3.

"Review of Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior" by Geoffrey Miller, 2010, American Journal of Human Biology, 22(4), 569-570.

"International Trade, Food and Diet Costs, and the Global Obesity Epidemic," (with A. Drewnowski and A. Hanks), 2010, Chapter 5 in Trade, Food, Diet and Health: Perspectives and Policy Options, C. Hawkes et al., eds. Oxford:Wiley-Blackwell.

"Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Novel products and the role of information in the modern market for food" (with H. Chouinard and P. Wandschneider), Food Policy, 36, 239-249.

"Commentary on Gearhardt et al. (2011): All foods are habit-forming—what I want to know is which will kill me!," 2011, Addiction, (106) 1218-1219.

"Economic Stressors and the Demand for 'Fattening' Foods," 2012, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 94(2), 324–330 (published online October 2011).

"Review of Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit Not Fat" by Franco Sassi, 2012, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 94(3), 815-817. (Published online December 2011).

"Behavioural Biology and Obesity," 2012, Ch. 4 in Offer, A., R. Pechey, S. Ulijaszek (editors), Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies, Oxford University Press/British Academy (Proceedings of the British Academy 174, 69-81).