Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/96532
Authors: 
Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.
Wollbrant, Conny
Year of Publication: 
2011
Series/Report no.: 
ESMT Working Paper 11-09
Abstract: 
We model self-control conflict as a stochastic struggle of an agent against a visceral influence, which impels the agent to act sub-optimally. The agent holds costly pre-commitment technology to avoid the conflict altogether and may decide whether to procure pre-commitment or to confront the visceral influence. We examine naïve expectations for the strength of the visceral influence; underestimating the visceral influence may lead the agent to exaggerate the expected utility of resisting temptation, and so mistakenly forego pre-commitment. Our analysis reveals conditions under which higher willpower – and lower visceral influence – reduces welfare. We further demonstrate that lowering risk aversion could reduce welfare. The aforementioned results call into question certain policy measures aimed at helping people improve their own behavior.
Subjects: 
self-control
temptation
inter-temporal choice
pre-commitment
JEL: 
D01
D03
D69
D90
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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