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Temptation and self-control: some evidence and applications

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  • Kevin X. D. Huang
  • Zheng Liu
  • Qi Zhu

Abstract

This paper studies the empirical relevance of temptation and self-control using household-level data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. We estimate an infinite-horizon consumption-savings model that allows, but does not require, temptation and self-control in preferences. To help identify the presence of temptation, we exploit an implication of the theory that a tempted individual has a preference for commitment. In the presence of temptation, the cross-sectional distribution of the wealth-consumption ratio, in addition to that of consumption growth, becomes a determinant of the asset-pricing kernel, and the importance of this additional pricing factor depends on the strength of temptation. The estimates that we obtain provide statistical evidence supporting the presence of temptation. Based on our estimates, we explore some quantitative implications of this class of preferences on equity premium and on the welfare cost of business cycles.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin X. D. Huang & Zheng Liu & Qi Zhu, 2006. "Temptation and self-control: some evidence and applications," Staff Report 367, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:367
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    Cited by:

    1. Cagri Seda Kumru & Athanasios C. Thanopoulos, 2011. "Self-control Preferences and Taxation: A Quantitative Analysis in a Life-cycle Model," Working Papers 201122, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
    2. Kumru, Cagri S. & Tran, Chung, 2012. "Temptation and social security in a dynastic framework," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1422-1445.
    3. Agnes Kovacs & Hamish Low & Patrick Moran, 2021. "Estimating Temptation And Commitment Over The Life Cycle," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(1), pages 101-139, February.
    4. Tran, Chung, 2016. "Fiscal policy as a temptation control device: Savings subsidy and social security," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 254-268.
    5. Tsvetanov, Tsvetan & Segerson, Kathleen, 2011. "Re-Evaluating the Role of Energy Efficiency Standards: A Time-Consistent Behavioral Economics Approach," Working Paper series 148295, University of Connecticut, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    6. Kumru, Cagri S. & Thanopoulos, Athanasios C., 2011. "Social security reform with self-control preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 886-899, August.
    7. Rudy Henkel, 2021. "Multiself Bargaining," Studies in Microeconomics, , vol. 9(1), pages 28-65, June.
    8. Tran, Chung, 2018. "Temptation and taxation with elastic labor," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 351-369.
    9. Airaudo, Marco, 2016. "Endogenous Stock Price Fluctuations with Dynamic Self-Control Preferences," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2016-2, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    10. Pier-André Bouchard St-Amant & Jean-Denis Garon, 2015. "Optimal redistributive pensions and the cost of self-control," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(5), pages 723-740, October.
    11. Driscoll, John C. & Holden, Steinar, 2014. "Behavioral economics and macroeconomic models," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 133-147.
    12. Jean-Denis Garon & Pier-Andre Bouchard St-Amant, 2013. "Optimal Redistributive Pensions With Temptation And Costly Self-control," Working Paper 1311, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    13. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "Limited self-control and long-run growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 1-8.
    14. Airaudo, Marco, 2017. "Temptation and Forward Guidance," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2017-4, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    15. Airaudo, Marco, 2020. "Temptation and forward-guidance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 186(C).
    16. Kang, Minwook & Kim, Eungsik, 2023. "A government policy with time-inconsistent consumers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 214(C), pages 44-67.
    17. Reddy Sai Shiva & Kausik Gangopadhyay, 2018. "Temptation in purchasing decision: A Quasi Experiment to Validate the Set Betweenness axiom," Working papers 268, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare; Asset pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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