Naïve and capricious: Stumbling into the ring of self-control conflict
AbstractWe model self-control conflict as a stochastic struggle of an agent against a visceral influence, which impels the agent to act sub-optimally. The agent holds costly pre-commitment technology to avoid the conflict altogether and may decide whether to procure pre-commitment or to confront the visceral influence. We examine naïve expectations for the strength of the visceral influence; underestimating the visceral influence may lead the agent to exaggerate the expected utility of resisting temptation, and so mistakenly forego pre-commitment. Our analysis reveals conditions under which higher willpower – and lower visceral influence – reduces welfare. We further demonstrate that lowering risk aversion could reduce welfare. The aforementioned results call into question certain policy measures aimed at helping people improve their own behavior.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by ESMT European School of Management and Technology in its series ESMT Research Working Papers with number ESMT-11-09.
Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Psychology 34(1): 8–19.
self-control; temptation; inter-temporal choice; pre-commitment;
Other versions of this item:
- Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2011. "Naïve and Capricious: Stumbling into the ring of self-control conflict," Working Papers in Economics 515, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
- D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice and Growth - - - General
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