Time-Inconsistency and Welfare
Self-control devices, such as rehabilitation programs, group commitment, and informal fines, can make time-inconsistent smokers better off. Health economists have used this result to argue in favor of cigarette taxes that restrain smoking. However, taxes alone are not Pareto-improving overall, because they benefit today's smoker at the expense of her future selves, who have less demand for self-control. We suggest an alternative class of taxation policies that provide selfcontrol and benefit a smoker at every point in life. Smokers could be allowed to purchase smoking licenses' when they start to smoke, and in exchange commit their future selves to face compensated cigarette taxes. We show that this scheme which could be made voluntary improves the welfare of current and future smokers, generates positive revenue for the government, and can be made incentive-compatible. Similar schemes can also be envisioned to address problems of timeinconsistency in other contexts.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001.
"The social discount rate,"
Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics
137, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- R. H. Strotz, 1955. "Myopia and Inconsistency in Dynamic Utility Maximization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 165-180.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Koszegi, 2000. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goldman, Steven Marc, 1979. "Intertemporally Inconsistent Preferences and the Rate of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 621-26, May.
- George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
- E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10345. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.