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Measuring Self-Control

Author

Listed:
  • John Ameriks
  • Andrew Caplin
  • John Leahy
  • Tom Tyler

Abstract

How significant are individual differences in self-control? Do these differences impact wealth accumulation? From where do they derive? Our survey-based measure of self-control provides insights into all three questions: 1.There are individual differences in self-control not only of a quantitative but also of a qualitative nature. In our sample, standard self-control problems of over-consumption are no more prevalent than are problems of under-consumption. 2.Standard self-control problems do impede wealth accumulation, particularly in liquid form. Problems of under-consumption have the opposite effects. 3.Self-control is linked to conscientiousness' much studied by psychologists. There is a related link with financial planning.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2004. "Measuring Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 10514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Matthew Weinberg, 2009. "Heterogeneity in Intra-monthly Consumption Patterns, Self-Control, and Savings at Retirement," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 163-189, August.
    2. Patricia Sourdin, 2005. "Pension Contribution as a Commitment Device: Evidence of Sophistication among Time-inconsistent Households," School of Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    3. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Guven, Cahit, 2012. "Reversing the question: Does happiness affect consumption and savings behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 701-717.
    5. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    6. Malin, Benjamin A., 2008. "Hyperbolic discounting and uniform savings floors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1986-2002, October.
    7. Kevin X.D. Huang & Zheng Liu & John Qi Zhu, 2015. "Temptation and Self‐Control: Some Evidence and Applications," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(4), pages 581-615, June.
    8. Esteban, Susanna & Miyagawa, Eiichi & Shum, Matthew, 2007. "Nonlinear pricing with self-control preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 306-338, July.
    9. Kevin X. D. Huang & Zheng Liu & Qi Zhu, 2005. "Temptation and Self-Control: Some Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Emory Economics 0507, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    10. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    11. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank, 2007. "Time preference, time discounting, and smoking decisions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 927-949, September.
    12. D.Dragone, 2005. "Incoerenza Dinamica ed Autocontrollo: Proposta per un'Analisi Interdisciplinare," Working Papers 549, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    13. Grignon, Michel, 2009. "An empirical investigation of heterogeneity in time preferences and smoking behaviors," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 739-751, October.
    14. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The Absent-Minded Consumer," NBER Working Papers 10216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Sourdin, Patricia, 2008. "Pension contributions as a commitment device: Evidence of sophistication among time-inconsistent households," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 577-596, August.
    16. Tim S. Griesdorn & Dorothy B. Durband, 2016. "Does Self-control Predict Wealth Creation Among Young Baby Boomers?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 18-28, March.
    17. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2007. "Measuring Self-Control Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 966-972, June.
    18. Brutscher, P-B., 2012. "Making Sense of Oil Stamp Saving Schemes," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1203, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    19. Patricia Sourdin, 2005. "Pension Contributions as a Commitment device: evidence of sophistication among time-inconsistent households," Public Economics 0512009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Marques Benton & Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Overborrowing and undersaving: lessons and policy implications from research in behavioral economics," Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers 2007-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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