Temptation and Commitment in the Laboratory
AbstractTemptation and self-control in intertemporal choice environments are receiving increasing attention in the theoretical economics literature. Nevertheless, there remains a scarcity of empirical evidence from controlled environments informing behavior under repeated temptations. This is unfortunate in light of the fact that in many natural environments, the same temptation must be repeatedly resisted. This paper fills that gap by reporting data from a novel laboratory study of economic decisions under repeat temptations. Subjects are repeatedly offered an option with instantaneous benefit that also entails a substantial reduction to overall earnings. We show that this option is \"tempting\" in the sense that a substantial fraction of our subjects incur pecuniary costs to eliminate the choice, and thus commit to not choosing the tempting alternative. We compare the timing and price-elasticity of these commitment decisions to predictions from existing theoretical models of decision under temptation. Our data are broadly consistent with theory, with the notable exception that commitment often occurs with delay rather than at the first opportunity. Moreover, the timing of commitment is significantly impacted by the cost of the commitment device. The patterns we report have direct implications for economic theory, and are a first step toward designing mechanisms that promote prudent economic decisions under temptation.
Download InfoTo our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19377.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2010: Ökonomie der Familie - Session: Consumer Behaviour and Intertemporal Choice G17-V2 (2010)
Other versions of this item:
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
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.:
- Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001.
"Temptation and Self-Control,"
Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
- Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
- W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999.
"Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption,"
Princeton Economic Theory Papers
99f2, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Jianjun Miao, 2008.
"Option exercise with temptation,"
Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 473-501, March.
- Jianjun Miao, 2004. "Option Exercise with Temptation," Microeconomics 0409002, EconWPA.
- Junjian Miao, 2005. "Option Exercise with Temptation," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2000.
"Modelling time-inconsistent preferences,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1116-1124, May.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine, 2005.
"A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
618897000000000876, David K. Levine.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2004. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2049, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2006. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2112, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Noor, Jawwad, 2007.
"Commitment and self-control,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 1-34, July.
- Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Commitment and Self-Control," Microeconomics 0509008, EconWPA.
- Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Commitment and Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-014, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Gharad Bryan & Dean Karlan & Scott Nelson, 2010. "Commitment Devices," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 671-698, 09.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Economics Working Papers
97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Alessandro Bucciol & Daniel Houser & Marco Piovesan, 2009. "Temptation at Work: A Field Experiment on Willpower and Productivity," Working Papers 1013, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
- Ozdenoren, Emre & Salant, Stephen & Silverman, Dan, 2010.
"Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges,"
dp-10-35, Resources For the Future.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen W. Salant & Dan Silverman, 2012. "Willpower And The Optimal Control Of Visceral Urges," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 342-368, 04.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen Salant & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," NBER Working Papers 12278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen Salant & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Economics Working Papers 0069, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Steve Salant & Dan Silverman, 2005. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000034, David K. Levine.
- Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004.
"Willpower and Personal Rules,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
- Jason Aimone & Daniel Houser, 2008.
"What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You: A Laboratory Analysis of Betrayal Aversion,"
1008, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Sep 2008.
- Jason Aimone & Daniel Houser, 2012. "What you don’t know won’t hurt you: a laboratory analysis of betrayal aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 571-588, December.
- Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981.
"An Economic Theory of Self-Control,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
- Nava Ashaf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2004.
"Tying odysseus to the mast: Evidence from a commitment savings product in the philippines,"
Natural Field Experiments
00206, The Field Experiments Website.
- Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672, May.
- Nava Ashraf & Dean S. Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2005. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers 917, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- 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.
- Nicholas Burger & Gary Charness & John Lynham, 2008. "Three Field Experiments on Procrastination and Willpower," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002399, David K. Levine.
- Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
- Xavier Gin� & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010.
"Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation,"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 213-35, October.
- Gine, Xavier & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Put your money where your butt is : a commitment contract for smoking cessation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4985, The World Bank.
- Kathleen D. Vohs & Ronald J. Faber, 2007. "Spent Resources: Self-Regulatory Resource Availability Affects Impulse Buying," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 537-547, 01.
- Klaus Wertenbroch, 1998. "Consumption Self-Control by Rationing Purchase Quantities of Virtue and Vice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 317-337.
- 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.
- Berno Buechel & Lydia Mechtenberg & Julia Petersen, 2014.
"Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control,"
SFB 649 Discussion Papers
SFB649DP2014-024, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
- Kirchkamp, Oliver & Prömpers, Henning, 2013. "Discharge of residual debt: Do private and institutional lenders differ?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79851, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
- Bucciol, Alessandro & Houser, Daniel & Piovesan, Marco, 2011.
"Temptation and productivity: A field experiment with children,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 126-136, April.
- Bucciol, Alessandro & Houser, Daniel & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Temptation and productivity: A field experiment with children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 126-136.
- repec:ran:wpaper:895 is not listed on IDEAS
- Alberto Bisin & Kyle Hyndman, 2014. "Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Meer & Neva K. Novarro, 2012. "Do Consumers Exploit Precommitment Opportunities? Evidence from Natural Experiments Involving Liquor Consumption," NBER Working Papers 17762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Katharina M. Eckartz, 2014. "Task enjoyment and opportunity costs in the lab - the effect of financial incentives on performance in real effort tasks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alexandra Frank).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.