A demerit good is one that if left to market forces would be over-consumed but have negative externalities.
A recent survey by the British Association of Dermatologists (results announced in July 2012) showed that nearly a third of people who have tattoos regret their decision later on in life. Here is a summary of their survey.
- 580 responses were analysed (from a total sample of 615) with a split of 53 per cent men and 47 per cent women. The responses revealed:
- Most tattoos were done by a professional • Half of the patients were over 40 • 45% of the patients had their first tattoo done aged between 18 and 25 years old
- Almost half had between two and five tattoos
- Almost one third regretted their tattoo
- Men were more likely to regret their tattoo than women
- Men were three times more likely to regret their tattoo if it was done when they were under 16 years of age
- Women over the age of 21 at the time of their first tattoo were the least likely to regret it.
- Most patients who regretted getting a tattoo had them on their upper body.
- Fewer than half those who regretted their tattoos would have them removed.
Are tattoos an example of a demerit good?