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Coping Rationally with Lapses from Rationality

Author

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  • Thomas C. Schelling

    (University of Maryland)

Abstract

People have difficulty governing certain of their own behaviors, and employ strategies to constrain future choices. These efforts can be interpreted as rational attempts to cope with some foreseeable lapse from full rationality. The philosophy literature and a small amount of recent economics literature concentrate on temptations - addictions, eating problems, sexual incontinence. Just what occurs during a "lapse" is often hard to describe, and whether succumbing should be considered rational or not is in dispute. Here, a number of conditions and behaviors are introduced for which a judgment about "irrationality" will be less problematic. They are important in their own right, and also help to enlarge the class in which the more notorious addictive and compulsive behaviors can be fitted. The latter may then be seen as members of a family not all of whose members are so perplexing.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas C. Schelling, 1996. "Coping Rationally with Lapses from Rationality," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 251-269, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:22:y:1996:i:3:p:251-269
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume22/V22N3P251_269.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Read, Daniel, 2006. "Which side are you on? The ethics of self-command," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 681-693, October.
    2. Clément, Valérie & Moureau, Nathalie & Vidal, Marion, 2009. "À la recherche des biens sous tutelle," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 85(4), pages 383-401, décembre.
    3. Elodie Brahic & Valérie Clément & Nathalie Moureau & Marion Vidal, 2008. "A la recherche des Merit Goods," Working Papers 08-08, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2008.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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