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Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption

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  • W. Pesendorfer
  • F. Gul

Abstract

To study the behavior of agents who are susceptible to temptation in infinite horizon consumption problems under uncertainty, we define and characterize dynamic self-control (DSC) preferences. DSC preferences are recursive and separable. In economies with DSC agents, equilibria exist but may be inefficient; in such equilibria, steady state consumption is independent of initial endowments and increases in self-control. Increasing the preference for commitment while keeping self-control constant increases the equity premium. Removing nonbinding constraints changes equilibrium allocations and prices. Debt contracts can be sustained even if the only feasible punishment for default is the termination of the contract. Copyright Econometric Society 2004.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Department, Princeton University in its series Princeton Economic Theory Papers with number 99f2.

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Date of creation: Aug 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:prinet:99f2

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  1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1995. "On the Interpretation of Decision Problems with Imperfect Recall," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 324-324, December.
  2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Incentives For Procrastinators," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 769-816, August.
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