Optimal Irrational Behavior
Contrary to the usual presumption that welfare is maximized if consumers behave rationally, we show in a two-period overlapping generations model that there always exists a rule of thumb that can weakly improve upon the lifecycle/permanent-income rule in general equilibrium with irrational households. The market-clearing mechanism introduces a pecuniary externality that individual rational households do not consider when making decisions, but a publically shared rule of thumb can exploit this effect. For typical calibrations, the improvement of the welfare of irrational households is robust to the introduction of rational agents. Generalizing to a more realistic lifecycle model, we find in particular that the Save More Tomorrow Plan can confer higher lifetime utility than the permanent-income rule in general equilibrium.
|Date of creation:||10 Feb 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125|
Phone: 61 3 9244 3815
Fax: +61 3 5227 2655
Web page: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/index.php
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Chris Shannon, 2003.
"What to Maximize if You Must,"
Theory workshop papers
658612000000000044, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2004. "What to Maximize if You Must," Discussion Papers 1414, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2003. "What to Maximize If You Must," Game Theory and Information 0303002, EconWPA.
- HEIFETZ, Aviad & SHANNON, Chris & SPIEGEL, Yossi, 2003. "What to maximize if you must," CORE Discussion Papers 2003047, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Lawrence Blume & David Easley, 2001.
"If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Belief Selection in Complete and Incomplete Markets,"
01-06-031, Santa Fe Institute.
- Lawrence Blume & David Easley, 2006. "If You're so Smart, why Aren't You Rich? Belief Selection in Complete and Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 929-966, 07.
- Larry Blume & David Easley, 2001. "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Belief Selection in Complete and Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1319, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Philippe Weil, 2008.
"Overlapping Generations: The First Jubilee,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 115-34, Fall.
- John Geanakoplos, 2008. "Overlapping Generations Models of General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1663, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Skinner, Jonathan, 1988.
"Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
- Jonathan S. Skinner, 1987. "Risky Income, Life Cycle Consumption, and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bullard, James & Feigenbaum, James, 2007.
"A leisurely reading of the life-cycle consumption data,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2305-2320, November.
- James B. Bullard & James Feigenbaum, 2006. "A leisurely reading of the life-cycle consumption data," Working Papers 2003-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Todd W Allen & Christopher D Carroll, 2001.
"Individual Learning About Consumption,"
Economics Working Paper Archive
444, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- John Geanakoplos, 2008. "Overlapping Generations Models of General Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002225, David K. Levine.
- Feigenbaum, James & Caliendo, Frank N., 2010. "Optimal irrational behavior in continuous time," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1907-1922, October.
- Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
- repec:pit:wpaper:368 is not listed on IDEAS
- Feigenbaum, James, 2008. "Information shocks and precautionary saving," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 3917-3938, December.
- Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2000.
"Time inconsistent preferences and Social Security,"
Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics
136, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Kevin X.D. Huang & Frank Caliendo, 2007. "Rationalizing Seven Consumption-Saving Puzzles in a Unified Framework," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0716, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
- Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
- Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
- Findley, T. Scott & Caliendo, Frank N., 2010. "Does it pay to be SMarT?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 321-344, July.
- Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2009_01. 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: (Dr Xueli Tang)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.