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Intertemporal Decision Making with Present Biased Preferences

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  • Zafer Akin

Abstract

I study the behavior of individuals with present biased preferences who are involved in costly, long-run projects. By using generic cost and reward functions, I characterize the behaviors of the sophisticated, partial naive and naive types. It is shown that there may arise cases where naives needlessly put effort on projects they never complete. Moreover, in endogenous total cost projects, the naive types always end up completing projects of lesser quality than originally intended. By introducing a bonus motive, it is shown that agents with higher self-control problems should be given a higher bonus to prevent inefficient procrastination. I, then, characterize the behavior of partially naives who potentially learn self-preferences. It is found that without learning self-preferences, partial naives behave either like sophisticates or naives depending on the level of naivete; with learning, if the learning pace is fast enough, procrastination until the deadline does not occur.

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Paper provided by TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1001.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tob:wpaper:1001

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  1. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5r26k54p, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  4. Gilpatric, Scott M., 2008. "Present-biased preferences, self-awareness and shirking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 735-754, September.
  5. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Procrastination on Long-Term Projects," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1bz181nv, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller, 2011. "Performance of procrastinators: on the value of deadlines," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(3), pages 329-366, March.
  7. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Incentives For Procrastinators," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 769-816, August.
  8. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
  9. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  10. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  11. Zafer Akin, 2007. "Time inconsistency and learning in bargaining games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 275-299, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
  14. 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.
  15. Zafer Akin, 2008. "Imperfect Information Processing in Sequential Bargaining Games with Present Biased Preferences," Working Papers 0810, TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics.
  16. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  17. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  18. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
  19. Yianis Sarafidis, 2004. "Inter-temporal Price Discrimination with Time Inconsistent Consumers," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 479, Econometric Society.
  20. Wong, Wei-Kang, 2008. "How much time-inconsistency is there and does it matter? Evidence on self-awareness, size, and effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 645-656, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Yılmaz, Murat, 2013. "Repeated moral hazard with a time-inconsistent agent," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 70-89.

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