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Myopia, regrets, and risky behaviors

  • PESTIEAU, Pierre
  • PONTHIERE, Grégory

This paper examines how a government should intervene when agents make, for different reasons, choices that have long term detrimental effects on their survival prospects. We consider an economy where some agents make risky choices (here sin good consumption) out of myopia, and regret their choices later on, whereas other agents make, because of their impatience, the same risky choices, which they never regret. We argue that, in the first-best, a government should only interfere with behaviors that agents regret, but not with other behaviors. In the second-best, asymmetric information and redistributive concerns imply interference not only with myopic behaviors, but also with impatience-based behaviors. Finally, we introduce heterogeneity in individual productivity, and show that the optimal tax on the sin good depends on the size of the myopic group, on the reactivity of sin good consumption to tax changes, and on the extent to which sin good consumption is correlated with labor earnings.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10797-011-9188-6
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number 2452.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2452
Note: In : International Tax and Public Finance, 19(2), 288-317, 2012
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  22. Frank J. Chaloupka, IV & Richard Peck & John A. Tauras & Xin Xu & Ayda Yurekli, 2010. "Cigarette Excise Taxation: The Impact of Tax Structure on Prices, Revenues, and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 16287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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