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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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 Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-09-16 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2004.
"Contracting with Diversely Naïve Agents,"
122247000000000530, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Paul Heidhues & Botond Kőszegi, 2009. "Futile Attempts at Self-Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 423-434, 04-05.
- Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
- Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2012.
"Strong, Bold, and Kind: Self-Control and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas,"
Working Papers in Economics
523, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 02 Apr 2013.
- Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2013. "Strong, Bold, and Kind: Self-Control and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas," CESifo Working Paper Series 4200, CESifo Group Munich.
- Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2012. "Strong, Bold, and Kind: Self-Control and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas," Discussion Papers in Economics 12706, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2012. "Strong, bold, and kind: Self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-12-01 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 28 Mar 2013.
- Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2012. "Reconciling pro-social vs. selfish behavior: On the role of self-control," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(3), pages 304-315, May.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie Andersson).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.