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Temptation with uncertain normative preference


  • Stovall, John E.

    () (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)


We model a decision maker who anticipates being tempted but is also uncertain about what is normatively best. Our model is an extended version of Gul and Pesendorfer's (2001) with three time periods: in the ex ante period the agent chooses a set of menus, in the interim period she chooses a menu from this set, and in the final period she chooses from the menu. We posit axioms from the ex ante perspective. Our main axioms on preference state that the agent prefers flexibility in the ex ante period and the option to commit in the interim period. Our representation is a generalization of Dekel et al.'s (2009)and identifies the agent's multiple normative preferences and multiple temptations. We also characterize the uncertain normative preference analogue to the representation of Stovall (2010). Finally, we characterize the special case where normative preference is not uncertain. This special case allows us to uniquely identify all components of the representations of Dekel et al. (2009) and Stovall (2010).

Suggested Citation

  • Stovall, John E., 2018. "Temptation with uncertain normative preference," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 13(1), January.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:1900

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John E. Stovall, 2010. "Multiple Temptations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 349-376, January.
    2. Igor Kopylov & Jawwad Noor, 2009. "Self-Deception and Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000319, David K. Levine.
    3. Kopylov, Igor, 2009. "Finite additive utility representations for preferences over menus," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 354-374, January.
    4. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2012. "Costly Self‐Control and Random Self‐Indulgence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 1271-1302, May.
    5. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
    6. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    7. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-577, May.
    8. Kopylov Igor, 2009. "Temptations in General Settings," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, September.
    9. David S. Ahn & Todd Sarver, 2013. "Preference for Flexibility and Random Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 341-361, January.
    10. Eddie eckel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2005. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: Corrigendum," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    Temptation; uncertain normative preference; interim preference for commitment;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory


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