Should the rewards be constant, or intermittent? Good question.
Reader Michael Glazer raises a very good question about using small cash incentive payments to encourage drug addicts to stay “clean”: Should the payments be fixed or random?
There’s good evidence from the psychology lab that intermittent reward has longer-lasting effects on behavior than constant reward. Worth some experimental work with drug abusers, I’d say.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman