The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization
AbstractWe model the brain as a multi-agent organization. Based on recent neuroscience evidence, we assume that different systems of the brain have different time-horizons and different access to information. Introducing asymmetric information as a restriction on optimal choices generates endogenous constraints in decision-making. In this game played between brain systems, we show the optimality of a self-disciplining rule of the type 'work more today if you want to consume more today' and discuss its behavioural implications for the distribution of consumption over the life-cycle. We also argue that our split-self theory provides 'micro-microfoundations' for discounting and offer testable implications that depart from traditional models with no conflict and exogenous discounting. Last, we analyse a variant in which the agent has salient incentives or biased motivations. The previous rule is then replaced by a simple, non-intrusive precept of the type 'consume what you want, just don't abuse'.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5168.
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-09-29 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2005-09-29 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2005-09-29 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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