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Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions

Author

Listed:
  • Michael A. Kuhn

    (Department of Economics - UC San Diego - University of California [San Diego])

  • Peter Kuhn

    (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California [Santa Barbara])

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Recent developments in economic theory model intertemporal choice decisions as problems of restraining one's natural impulse to consume today. We use interventions that have been shown in the psychology literature to affect impulse control to examine whether this is indeed the case for laboratory elicitations of time preference. In other words, is savings behavior affected by manipulations of willpower? Our results are mixed, with one widely used willpower-reducing intervention increasing subjects' savings, and with evidence of a substantial placebo effects with respect to another intervention based on sugared beverage consumption. Since all our treatment effects -which are substantial in magnitude- are driven by increases in the intertemporal substitution elasticity (i.e. greater sensitivity to high prices), we suspect that the primary mechanism behind them is an increase in subjects' attention to the decision, rather than their ability to resist the temptation to get money sooner.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael A. Kuhn & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions," Post-Print halshs-00954539, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00954539
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00954539
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9506-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Anujit Chakraborty & Evan M. Calford & Guidon Fenig & Yoram Halevy, 2017. "External and internal consistency of choices made in convex time budgets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 687-706, September.
    3. Lucks, Konstantin, 2016. "The Impact of Self-Control on Investment Decisions," MPRA Paper 73099, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Time preferences; self-control; depletion; sucrose; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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