Temptation and self-control

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Abstract

We study a two-period model where ex ante inferior choice may tempt the decision-maker in the second period. Individuals have preferences over sets of alternatives that represent second period choices. Our axioms yield a representation that identifies the individual's commitment ranking, temptation ranking, and cost of self-control. An agent has a preference for commitment if she strictly prefers a subset of alternatives to the set itself. An agent has self-control if she resists temptation and chooses an option with higher ex ante utility. We introduce comparative measures of preference for commitment and self-control and relate them to our representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1435
Number of pages33
JournalEconometrica
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics

Keywords

  • Dynamic choice
  • Preference for commitment
  • Set betweenness

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