Doing It Now or Later
AbstractThough economists assume that intertemporal preferences are time-consistent, evidence suggests that a person's relative preference for well-being at an earlier moment over a later moment increases as the earlier moment gets closer. We explore the beh avioral and welfare implications of such time-inconsistent preferences in a simple model where a person must engage in an activity exactly once during some duration. We focus on two sets of distinctions. First, do choices involve salient costs - where t he costs of an action are immediate but any rewards are delayed - or do they involve salient rewards - where the rewards of an action are immediate but any costs are delayed? Second, are people sophisticated - they foresee future self-control problems - o r are the na�ve - they do not anticipate these self-control problems? Na�ve people procrastinate activities with salient costs and preproperate - do too soon - activities with salient rewards. If costs are salient, sophistication mitigates procrastinati on, and can even lead sophisticated people to do the activity sooner than if they had no self-control problem. If rewards are salient, sophistication exacerbates preproperation. These behavioral results have corresponding welfare implications: With sali ent costs, mild self-control problems can severely damage a person only if she is na�ve, while with salient rewards mild self-control problems can severely damage a person only is she is sophisticated. We also consider a multiple-activity version of the model and discuss how our results might apply to savings, addiction, and other behaviors.
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 California at Berkeley in its series Economics Working Papers with number 97-253.
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA USA
Web page: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/iber/wps/econwp.html
More information through EDIRC
Postal: IBER, F502 Haas Building, University of California, Berkeley CA 94720-1922
Other versions of this item:
- 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.
- 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.
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
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.:
- Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
- Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988.
"A Theory of Rational Addiction,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Thaler, Richard H, 1994. "Psychology and Savings Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 186-92, May.
- Peleg, Bezalel & Yaari, Menahem E, 1973. "On the Existence of a Consistent Course of Action when Tastes are Changing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 391-401, July.
- Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Rook, Dennis W, 1987. " The Buying Impulse," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 189-99, September.
- 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.
- Goldman, Steven Marc, 1979. "Intertemporally Inconsistent Preferences and the Rate of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 621-26, May.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1978. "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 290-94, May.
- 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.
- Pollak, Robert A, 1978. "Endogenous Tastes in Demand and Welfare Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 374-79, May.
- Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
- Ainslie, George, 1991. "Derivation of "Rational" Economic Behavior from Hyperbolic Discount Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 334-40, May.
- Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
- Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1991.
"Rational Addiction and the Effect of Price on Consumption,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 237-41, May.
- Gary S.Grossman Becker & Michael Murphy & Kevin M., 1991. "Rational Addiction and the Effect of Price on Consumption," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 68, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Goldman, Steven M, 1980. "Consistent Plans," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 533-37, April.
- Hammond, Peter J., 1976. "Endogenous tastes and stable long-run choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 329-340, October.
- Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 159-73, February.
- Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982.
"Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
- David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 239, David K. Levine.
- Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
- Clazer, J. & Weiss, A., 1992. "Conflecting Preferences and Voluntary restrictions on Choices," Papers 8, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Winston, Gordon C., 1980. "Addiction and backsliding : A theory of compulsive consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 295-324, December.
- Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1984. "Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 1-11, May.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- When will Ronaldo dive? Insights from behavioural economics
by Ronan Lyons in Ronan Lyons on 2010-06-22 06:00:09
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.