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American Economic Review: Vol. 96 No. 5 (December 2006)

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A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control

Article Citation

Fudenberg, Drew, and David K. Levine. 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control." American Economic Review, 96(5): 1449-1476.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1449

Abstract

We propose that a simple “dual-self” model gives a unified explanation for several empirical regularities, including the apparent time inconsistency that has motivated models of quasi-hyperbolic discounting and Rabin’s paradox of risk aversion in the large and small. The model also implies that self-control costs imply excess delay, as in the O’Donoghue and Rabin models of quasi-hyperbolic utility, and it explains experimental evidence that increased cognitive load makes temptations harder to resist. The base version of our model is consistent with the Gul-Pesendorfer axioms, but we argue that these axioms must be relaxed to account for the effect of cognitive load. (JEL D11, D81)

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Authors

Fudenberg, Drew
Levine, David K.


American Economic Review


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