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Temptation and Self-Control

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  • W. Pesendorfer
  • F. Gul

Abstract

We study a two-period model where ex ante inferior choice may tempt the decision-maker in the second period. Individuals have preferences over sets of alternatives that represent second period choices. Our axioms yield a representation that identifies the individual's commitment ranking, temptation ranking, and cost of self-control. An agent has a preference for commitment if she strictly prefers a subset of alternatives to the set itself. An agent has self-control if she resists temptation and chooses an option with higher ex ante utility. We introduce comparative measures of preference for commitment and self-control and relate them to our representations. Copyright The Econometric Society.
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Suggested Citation

  • W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:prinet:99f1
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    1. Piccione, Michele & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1997. "On the Interpretation of Decision Problems with Imperfect Recall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, July.
    2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Incentives for Procrastinators," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 769-816.
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