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

Tel +64 3 479 4596
Room 617, 6th Floor, Otago Business School

Prior to joining the University of Otago in 2011, Trent held academic positions at Washington State University (USA); the University of California, Los Angeles (USA); and the University of Bonn (Germany). Trent's research interests are broadly interdisciplinary, applying economic methods in biological perspective to better understand behavioural phenomena that would seem to violate the economist's conventional presumptions of rationality and full information. His published research has focussed in particular on dietary choice, obesity, addiction, economic insecurity, and mass marketing.

Trent's CV

Read Trent Smith's Curriculum Vitae

Selected publications

Take a look at Trent's publications below:

"Endocrine State is the Physical Manifestation of Subjective Beliefs," forthcoming in Journal of Economic Psychology.

"Economic insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic: insight from the Great Recession," (with D.V. Clyne), 2022, New Zealand Economic Papers, 56(1), 81—89.

"Food fraud: economic insights into the dark side of incentives" (with M.D. Ehmke, A. Bonanno and K. Boys), 2019, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 63, 685—700.

"Is Behavioural Economics Ready to Save the World?," 2016, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 4(12), 982.

"Smart food policies for obesity prevention," (with C. Hawkes, J. Jewell, J. Wardle, R.A. Hammond, S. Friel, A.M. Thow, and J. Kain), 2015, The Lancet, 385, 2410—2421.

“The Economics of Information, Deep Capture, and the Obesity Debate,” (with A. Tasnádi), 2014, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2), 533–541.

“Effects of Household Composition and Income Security on Body Weight in Working-Age Men,” (with M. Barnes and J. Yoder), 2013, Obesity, 21(9), E483–E489.

“Quality Uncertainty as Resolution of the Bertrand Paradox,” (with A. Tasnádi and A. Hanks), 2012, Pacific Economic Review, 17(5), 687–692.

"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).

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

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

"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.

"Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Novel products and the role of information in the modern market for food", 2011 (with H. Chouinard and P. Wandschneider), Food Policy, 36, 239-249.

"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.

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

"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.

"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.

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

"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.

"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.

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

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

Teaching responsibilities

Trent's teaching responsibilities include:


Smith, T. G., & Tasnádi, A. (2014). The economics of information, deep capture, and the obesity debate. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2), 533-541. doi: 10.1093/ajae/aat113 Journal - Research Article

Smith, T. G. (2004). The McDonald’s equilibrium: Advertising, empty calories, and the endogenous determination of dietary preferences. Social Choice & Welfare, 23(3), 383-413. doi: 10.1007/s00355-003-0265-3 Journal - Research Article

Smith, T. G., & Tasnádi, A. (2007). A theory of natural addiction. Games & Economic Behavior, 59(2), 316-344. doi: 10.1016/j.geb.2006.08.006 Journal - Research Article

Hawkes, C., Smith, T. G., Jewell, J., Wardle, J., Hammond, R. A., Friel, S., … Kain, J. (2015). Smart food policies for obesity prevention. Lancet, 385(9985), 2410-2421. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61745-1 Journal - Research Article

Smith, T. G., Stoddard, C., & Barnes, M. G. (2009). Why the poor get fat: Weight gain and economic insecurity. Forum for Health Economics & Policy, 12(2), 5. doi: 10.2202/1558-9544.1151 Journal - Research Article

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