A theory of self-control and naïveté: The blights of willpower and blessings of temptation
We model self-control conflict as an agent’s stochastic struggle against a visceral influence that impels the agent to act sub-optimally. The agent holds costly pre-commitment technology to avoid the conflict altogether and may decide whether to procure pre-commitment or to confront the visceral influence. We examine naïve expectations for the strength of the visceral influence; naïve expectations lead the agent to exaggerate the expected utility of resisting temptation and so mistakenly forego pre-commitment. Contrary to accepted wisdom, our analysis reveals conditions under which higher willpower—and lower visceral influence—reduces welfare. Our analysis, therefore, calls into question policy measures that influence willpower and visceral influences.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- 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.
- 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, 2006. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2112, 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.
- Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- 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.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Ted O' Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001.
"Choice and Procrastination,"
- 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.
- Ted O' Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Economics Working Papers E00-281, University of California at Berkeley.
- Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2006.
"Contracting with Diversely Naive Agents,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 689-714.
- 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.
- 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.
- Benabou, Roland & Pycia, Marek, 2002. "Dynamic inconsistency and self-control: a planner-doer interpretation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 419-424, November.
- Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996.
"Contest Success Functions,"
Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
- W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999.
"Temptation and Self-Control,"
Princeton Economic Theory Papers
99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004.
"Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption,"
Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 119-158, 01.
- 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.
- David Laibson, 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
- R. H. Strotz, 1955. "Myopia and Inconsistency in Dynamic Utility Maximization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 165-180.
- 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.
- Badger, Gary J. & Bickel, Warren K. & Giordano, Louis A. & Jacobs, Eric A. & Loewenstein, George & Marsch, Lisa, 2007. "Altered states: The impact of immediate craving on the valuation of current and future opioids," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 865-876, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:34:y:2013:i:c:p:8-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.