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Intertemporal Decision Making with Present Biased Preferences

  • Zafer Akin

I study the behavior of individuals with present biased preferences who are involved in costly, long-run projects. By using generic cost and reward functions, I characterize the behaviors of the sophisticated, partial naive and naive types. It is shown that there may arise cases where naives needlessly put effort on projects they never complete. Moreover, in endogenous total cost projects, the naive types always end up completing projects of lesser quality than originally intended. By introducing a bonus motive, it is shown that agents with higher self-control problems should be given a higher bonus to prevent inefficient procrastination. I, then, characterize the behavior of partially naives who potentially learn self-preferences. It is found that without learning self-preferences, partial naives behave either like sophisticates or naives depending on the level of naivete; with learning, if the learning pace is fast enough, procrastination until the deadline does not occur.

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Paper provided by TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1001.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tob:wpaper:1001
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  2. Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel, 2011. "Performance of procrastinators: On the value of deadlines," Munich Reprints in Economics 19454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
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  6. Zafer Akin, 2008. "Imperfect Information Processing in Sequential Bargaining Games with Present Biased Preferences," Working Papers 0810, TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics.
  7. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Procrastination on Long-Term Projects," Working Papers 02-09, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  8. Zafer Akin, 2005. "Time Inconsistency And Learning In Bargaining Games," Game Theory and Information 0507003, EconWPA.
  9. Ted O' Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Economics Working Papers E00-281, University of California at Berkeley.
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  11. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
  12. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
  13. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  14. Wong, Wei-Kang, 2008. "How much time-inconsistency is there and does it matter? Evidence on self-awareness, size, and effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 645-656, December.
  15. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  16. Yianis Sarafidis, 2004. "Inter-temporal Price Discrimination with Time Inconsistent Consumers," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 479, Econometric Society.
  17. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  18. Gilpatric, Scott M., 2008. "Present-biased preferences, self-awareness and shirking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 735-754, September.
  19. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
  20. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1997. "Incentives for Procrastinators," Discussion Papers 1181, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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