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Impulsive Consumption and Financial Wellbeing: Evidence from an Increase in the Availability of Alcohol

Listed author(s):
  • Itzhak Ben-David
  • Marieke Bos

Increased availability of temptation goods might harm individuals if they have time-inconsistent preferences and consume more in the present than planned before. We study this idea by examining the credit behavior of low-income households around the expansion of the opening hours of retail liquor stores during a nationwide experiment in Sweden. Consistent with store closures serving as commitment devices, expanded operating hours led to higher alcohol consumption (Nordström and Skog 2003) and greater consumer credit uptake and default. Thus, our results show that limiting the availability of temptation goods can improve the financial wellbeing of individuals with inconsistent time preferences.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23211.

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Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23211
Note: CF HE IO
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  1. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
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  14. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  15. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
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