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Temptation and self-control: some evidence and applications

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  • Kevin X.D. Huang
  • Zheng Liu
  • John Q. Zhu

Abstract

This paper studies the empirical relevance of temptation and self-control using household-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. We construct an infinite-horizon consumption-savings model that allows, but does not require, temptation and self-control in preferences. In the presence of temptation, a wealth-consumption ratio, in addition to consumption growth, becomes a determinant of the asset-pricing kernel, and the importance of this additional pricing factor depends on the strength of temptation. To identify the presence of temptation, we exploit an implication of the theory that a more tempted individual should be more likely to hold commitment assets such as IRA or 401(k) accounts. Our estimation provides empirical support for temptation preferences. Based on our estimates, we explore some quantitative implications of this class of preferences for capital accumulation in a neoclassical growth model and the welfare cost of the business cycle

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2013-23.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2013-23

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) ; Consumer behavior;

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Cited by:
  1. Cagri S. Kumru & Athanasios C. Thanopoulos, 2011. "Self-control Preferences and Taxation: A Quantitative Analysis in a Life Cycle Model," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2011-546, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  2. Kumru, Cagri S. & Thanopoulos, Athanasios C., 2011. "Social security reform with self-control preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 886-899, August.
  3. Tsvetan Tsvetanov & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Re-Evaluating the Role of Energy Efficiency Standards: A Time-Consistent Behavioral Economics Approach," Working Papers 07, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  4. Pier-Andre Bouchard St-Amant & Jean-Denis Garon, 2013. "Optimal Redistributive Pensions with Temptation and Costly Self-Control," Working Papers 1311, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Cagri Seda Kumru & Chung Tran, 2009. "Temptation and Social Security in a Dynastic Framework," Discussion Papers 2009-09, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  6. Tsvetan Tsvetanov & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Re-Evaluating the Role of Energy Efficiency Standards: A Time-Consistent Behavioral Economics Approach," Working papers 2011-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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