A Model of Focusing in Economic Choice
We present a generally applicable theory of focusing based on the hypothesis that a person focuses more on, and hence overweights, attributes in which her options differ more. Our model predicts that the decision maker is too prone to choose options with concentrated advantages relative to alternatives, but maximizes utility when the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives are equally concentrated. Applying our model to intertemporal choice, these results predict that a person exhibits present bias and time inconsistency when--such as in lifestyle choices and other widely invoked applications of hyperbolic discounting--the future effect of a current decision is distributed over many dates, and the effects of multiple decisions accumulate. But unlike in previous models, in our theory (1) present bias is lower when the costs of current misbehavior are less dispersed, helping explain why people respond more to monetary incentives than to health concerns in harmful consumption; and (2) time inconsistency is lower when a person commits to fewer decisions with accumulating effects in her ex ante choice. In addition, a person does not fully maximize welfare even when making decisions ex ante: (3) she commits to too much of an activity--for example, exercise or work--that is beneficial overall; and (4) makes "future-biased" commitments when--such as in preparing for a big event--the benefit of many periods' effort is concentrated in a single goal. JEL Codes: D03, D40, D91. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.
Volume (Year): 128 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| |
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.:
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009.
"Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2008.
"Learning in the Credit Card Market,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
122247000000002028, David K. Levine.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2005. "Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000480, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2010.
"Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk,"
NBER Working Papers
16387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shleifer, Andrei & Bordalo, Pedro & Gennaioli, Nicola, 2012. "Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk," Scholarly Articles 10636303, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Andrei Shleifer & Nicola Gennaioli & Pedro Bordalo, 2011. "Salience theory of choice under risk," 2011 Meeting Papers 1442, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, . "Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk," Working Paper 29210, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Matthew Rabin & Georg Weizsacker, 2009.
"Narrow Bracketing and Dominated Choices,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1508-43, September.
- Damon Jones, 2010. "Inertia and Overwithholding: Explaining the Prevalence of Income Tax Refunds," NBER Working Papers 15963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Asheim, Geir B., 2007. "Procrastination, partial naivete, and behavioral welfare analysis," Memorandum 02/2007, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur A. Stone, 2006. "Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer? A Focusing Illusion," Working Papers 77, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
- Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "What Do Consumers Really Pay on Their Checking and Credit Card Accounts? Explicit, Implicit, and Avoidable Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 424-29, May.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008.
"Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics,"
NBER Working Papers
13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," Discussion Papers 07-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Kfir Eliaz & Michael Richter & Ariel Rubinstein, 2011. "Choosing the two finalists," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 211-219, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:1:p:53-104. 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: (Oxford University Press)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.