zbMATH — the first resource for mathematics

Costly self-control and limited willpower. (English) Zbl 07263725
Summary: In [F. Gul and W. Pesendorfer, Econometrica 69, No. 6, 1403–1435 (2001; Zbl 1019.91017)], a decision-maker, when facing a choice among menus, evaluates each menu in terms of the maximum value of its commitment utility net of self-control costs. This paper extends the model such that this maximum is constrained by the condition that the cost of self-control cannot exceed the decision-maker’s stock of willpower \(w\). Four of the five axioms of our characterization are as in their Theorem 3 except that the independence axiom is restricted to a subset of menus. We add one new axiom to regulate willpower as a limited (cognitive) resource in which the available “stock” does not vary across menus. In our characterization, choices within menus that satisfy WARP reveal a constant trade-off between commitment and temptation utilities. However, it is the discontinuity of preferences over menus (along with violations of WARP for choices within menus) that reveals \(w\) (measured in units of temptation utility), allowing for a behaviorally meaningful comparative measure of self-control across individuals.

91B06 Decision theory
91B08 Individual preferences
Full Text: DOI
[1] Ali, SN, Learning self-control, Q. J. Econ., 126, 857-893 (2011) · Zbl 1219.91034
[2] Ariely, D., The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (2011), New York: Harper Perennial, New York
[3] Baumeister, RF; Heatherton, T.; Tice, D., Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation (1994), Cambridge: Academic Press, Cambridge
[4] BĂ©nabou, R.; Tirole, J., Willpower and personal rules, J. Polit. Econ., 112, 4, 848-886 (2004)
[5] Chatterjee, K.; Vijay Krishna, R., A “Dual Self” representation for stochastic temptation, Am. Econ. J.: Microecon., 1, 148-167 (2009)
[6] Dekel, E.; Lipman, BL; Rustichini, A., Temptation driven preferences, Rev. Econ. Stud., 76, 3, 937-971 (2009) · Zbl 1197.91076
[7] Elster, J.; Skog, O-J, Getting Hooked: Rationality and Addiction (1999), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
[8] Gailliot, MT; Baumeister, RF, The physiology of willpower: linking blood glucose to self-control, Personal. Soc. Psychol. Rev., 11, 4, 303-327 (2007)
[9] Gul, F.; Pesendorfer, W., Temptation and self-control, Econometrica, 69, 6, 1403-1435 (2001) · Zbl 1019.91017
[10] Gul, F.; Pesendorfer, W., Harmful addiction, Rev. Econ. Stud., 74, 147-172 (2007) · Zbl 1253.91104
[11] Kopylov, I., Finite additive utility representations for preferences over menus, J. Econ. Theory, 144, 354-374 (2009) · Zbl 1154.91395
[12] Kopylov, I., Perfectionism and choice, Econometrica, 80, 5, 1819-1843 (2012) · Zbl 1274.91145
[13] Kreps, D., Notes on the Theory of Choice (1988), Boulder: Westview Press, Boulder
[14] Loewenstein, G., Emotions in economic theory and economic behavior, Am. Econ. Rev., 90, 2, 426-432 (2000)
[15] Masatlioglu, Y., Nakajima, D., Ozdenoren, E.: Revealed willpower. Working Paper, pp. 1-20 (2014) · Zbl 1445.91016
[16] Muraven, M.; Baumeister, RF, Self-regulation and depletion of limited resources: does self-control resemble a muscle?, Psychol. Bull., 126, 2, 247-259 (2000)
[17] Noor, J.; Takeoka, N., Uphill self-control, Theor. Econ., 5, 2, 127-158 (2010) · Zbl 1198.91103
[18] Rader, T., The existence of a utility function to represent preferences, Rev. Econ. Stud., 30, 3, 229-232 (1963)
[19] Roy, F.; Baumeister, KV; Loewenstein, G.; Read, D.; Baumeister, RF, Willpower, Choice and Self-Control, Time and Decision (2003), New York: Russell Sage Foundation, New York
[20] Stovall, JE, Multiple temptations, Econometrica, 78, 1, 349-376 (2010) · Zbl 1202.91057
[21] Strotz, R., Myopia and inconsistency in dynamic utility maximization, Rev. Econ. Stud., 23, 3, 165-180 (1955)
This reference list is based on information provided by the publisher or from digital mathematics libraries. Its items are heuristically matched to zbMATH identifiers and may contain data conversion errors. It attempts to reflect the references listed in the original paper as accurately as possible without claiming the completeness or perfect precision of the matching.