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 University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 515.
Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
More information through EDIRC
self-control; temptation; inter-temporal choice; pre-commitment;
Other versions of this item:
- Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2011. "Naïve and capricious: Stumbling into the ring of self-control conflict," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-11-09, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
- 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
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-09-16 (All new papers)
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