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Estimating temptation and commitment over the life-cycle

Author

Listed:
  • Agnes Kovacs

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester)

  • Hamish Low

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Oxford & Nuffield College)

  • Patrick Moran

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper estimates the importance of temptation (Gul and Pesendorfer, 2001) for consumption smoothing and asset accumulation in a structural life-cycle model. We use two complementary estimation strategies: ?rst, we estimate the Euler equation of this model; and second we match liquid and illiquid wealth accumulation using the Method of Simulated Moments. We ?nd that the utility cost of temptation is one-quarter of the utility bene?t of consumption. Further, we show that allowing for temptation is crucial for correctly estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: estimates of the EIS are substantially higher than without temptation. Finally, our Method of Simulated Moments estimation is able to match well the life-cycle accumulation pro?les for both liquid and illiquid wealth only if temptation is part of the preference speci?cation. Our ?ndings on the importance of temptation are robust to the di?erent estimation strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Agnes Kovacs & Hamish Low & Patrick Moran, 2020. "Estimating temptation and commitment over the life-cycle," IFS Working Papers W20/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:20/24
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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