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Temptation and Self-Control

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  • Faruk Gul
  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer

Abstract

We study a two-period model where ex ante inferior choice may tempt the decision-maker in the second period. Individuals have preferences over sets of alternatives that represent second period choices. Our axioms yield a representation that identifies the individual's commitment ranking, temptation ranking, and cost of self-control. An agent has a preference for commitment if she strictly prefers a subset of alternatives to the set itself. An agent has self-control if she resists temptation and chooses an option with higher ex ante utility. We introduce comparative measures of preference for commitment and self-control and relate them to our representations. Copyright The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:69:y:2001:i:6:p:1403-1435
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