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Temptation–Driven Preferences

  • Eddie Dekel
  • Barton Lipman
  • Aldo Rustichini

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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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1423.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1423
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  1. Manuel Amador & George-Marios Angeletos & Ivan Werning, 2004. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," 2004 Meeting Papers 87, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Temptation, Welfare and Revealed Preference," Microeconomics 0509009, EconWPA.
  3. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  4. 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.
  5. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2004. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2049, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  9. 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 1622-68, December.
  10. repec:ubc:bricol:90-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Kopylov Igor, 2009. "Temptations in General Settings," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, September.
  12. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, 07.
  13. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
  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. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-77, May.
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