By the same authors

From the same journal

A theory of self-control and naïveté: The blights of willpower and blessings of temptation

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Published copy (DOI)



Publication details

DatePublished - 1 Feb 2013
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)8-19
Original languageEnglish


We model self-control conflict as an agent's stochastic struggle against a visceral influence that 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; naïve expectations lead the agent to exaggerate the expected utility of resisting temptation and so mistakenly forego pre-commitment. Contrary to accepted wisdom, our analysis reveals conditions under which higher willpower-and lower visceral influence-reduces welfare. Our analysis, therefore, calls into question policy measures that influence willpower and visceral influences.

    Research areas

  • Inter-temporal choice, Pre-commitment, Self-control, Temptation

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