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Time-inconsistent preferences in a general equilibrium model

  • P. Herings

    ()

  • Kirsten Rohde

    ()

This paper introduces time-inconsistent preferences in a multi-commodity general equilibrium framework with incomplete markets. The standard concept of competitive equilibrium is extended in order to allow for changes in intertemporal preferences. Depending on whether or not agents recognize that their intertemporal preferences change, agents are called sophisticated or naïve. This paper presents competitive equilibrium notions for economies with naïve agents and economies with sophisticated agents and provides assumptions under which both types of equilibria exist. Surprisingly, the set of naïve equilibria of societies populated by time-consistent households is not allocationally equivalent to the set of competitive equilibria. For sophisticated equilibria, the equivalence holds. Time-inconsistency also raises conceptual issues about the appropriate concept of efficiency. Choices have to be made concerning the incorporation of future preferences and the appropriate instruments to create Pareto improvements. For both naïve and sophisticated societies, we present four possible efficiency concepts. Suitable conditions are specified for which both naïve and sophisticated equilibria satisfy appropriate efficiency concepts.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00199-005-0020-3
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 29 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 591-619

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:29:y:2006:i:3:p:591-619
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  1. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Dutta, Jayasri & Morris, Stephen, 1997. "The Revelation of Information and Self-Fulfilling Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 231-244, March.
  3. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
  4. Erzo G. J. Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2003. "Subjective Discounting in an Exchange Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 959-989, October.
  5. Atsushi Kajii & Antonio Villanacci & Alessandro Citanna, 1998. "Constrained suboptimality in incomplete markets: a general approach and two applications," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 495-521.
  6. Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
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