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Temptation–Driven Preferences

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  • Eddie Dekel
  • Barton Lipman
  • Aldo Rustichini

Abstract

What behavior can be explained using the hypothesis that the agent faces temptation but is otherwise a “standard rational agent”? In earlier work, Gul–Pesendorfer [2001] use a set betweenness axiom to restrict the set of preferences considered by Dekel, Lipman, and Rustichini [2001] to those explainable via temptation. We argue that set betweenness rules out plausible and interesting forms of temptation including some which may be important in applications. We propose a pair of alternative axioms called DFC, desire for commitment, and AIC, approximate improvements are chosen. DFC characterizes temptation as situations where given any set of alternatives, the agent prefers committing herself to some particular item from the set rather than leaving herself the flexibility of choosing later. AIC is based on the idea that if adding an option to a menu improves the menu, it is because that option is chosen under some circumstances. From this interpretation, the axiom concludes that if an improvement is worse (as a commitment) than some commitment from the menu, then the best commitment from the menu is strictly preferred to facing the menu. We show that these axioms characterize a natural generalization of the Gul–Pesendorfer representation.

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  • Eddie Dekel & Barton Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Temptation–Driven Preferences," Discussion Papers 1423, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1423
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Manuel Amador & Iván Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2006. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 365-396, March.
    2. repec:ubc:bricol:90-03 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David K. Levine & Drew Fudenberg, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1449-1476, December.
    4. Peter A. Diamond, 1967. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 765-765.
    5. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
    6. Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Temptation, Welfare and Revealed Preference," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-15, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    7. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-1668, December.
    8. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
    9. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    10. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    11. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-577, May.
    12. Kopylov Igor, 2009. "Temptations in General Settings," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, September.
    13. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, March.
    14. Eddie eckel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2005. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: Corrigendum," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    15. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, July.
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