Papers by Melberg
Elster Page
Ph.D work

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Ph.D. in progress
Political Theory
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Ph.D Work
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Define economics!
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Ph.D.  in progress ...

Below is a series of observations and papers that are related to the topics in my disserations (A cost-benefit analysis of different treatment programs for drug addicts: Theory and application). Comments, criticism and ideas are, as always, greatly appreciated. Please note that the papers are often unfinshed working papers - sometimes even less than that (just simple observations). They are not intended for citation and most of them will end up the dustbin long before they reach a dissertation. My intention is simply to use this page as a tool to force myself to write down ideas and to provide those who are intrested with an opportuinity to follow and comment on my work.

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Cost-Benefit  |  Correlation/Causation | Social Interaction  |  Centralization/Decentralization

General Information | Overview of all papers (not just Ph.D)


General information
    Project description (my original version)
    Prosjektbeskrivelse (meget kort versjon på norsk)
    Fremdriftsrapport (2000)
    Nyhetsbrev nr. 1
    Nyhetsbrev nr. 2
    Nyhetsbrev nr. 3


    Kostnader og nytten av noen ulike typer behandling: Et notat (kladd)
    Hva er en samfunnskostnad?
    The concept of social cost
    Narkotikamisbruk og kriminalitetskostnader: Et notat
    Paternalism: Three arguments


Statistical problems
    The problem of spurious correlation
    Comparing treatments: Adjusting for missing respondents and different group/client characteristics


Social Interaction
    Social interaction and cost-benefit analysis: Initial observations
    Social interaction, treatment and modelling changes in the number of drug user
    Notes on microfoundations and aggregate models of social interaction
    Evolutionary models, observational learning, stigma and the equilibrium number of drug users


Centralization vs.Decentralization
    What is the optimal degree of centralization?
    Optimal centralization: A frame and more links and mechanisms
    What is the value of information in a centralized structure if people behave like “yes-men?”
    Centralization vs. Decentralization: Sources of information and one idea



A very short project description (original, not modified)
The main (but impossible) question is "What is the best treatment for drug addiction from a cost-benefit perspective?"). Within this general headline I want to focus on four sub-questions:
(1) Cost-Benefit analysis: Should all questions of public policy money should be guided by cost-benefit analysis? Do we have enough information to do cost-benefit analysis?
(2) The problem of spurious correlation: How to reduce the risk of making misleading claims about costs and benefits (and effects of treatment) when analysing survey data; Simpson's paradox; correlation and causation.
(3) Addiction, theory and modelling: How to model agents that are less than perfectly rational in an environment where interaction is important (so we cannot assume a representative agent)?
(4) The market for treatment: The market for treatment is dominated by instututions that claim not to be motivated by profit. Moreover the market is governed by a set of rules (e.g. about who is responsible for payment and the length of contracts). What kind og incentive system is created by these rules? Do they encourage efficiency?