Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Shaefer and Edin's book ($2 a Day) cited in piece on political debate over plight of impoverished Americans

Eisenberg tracks factors affecting both mental health and athletic/academic performance among college athletes

Shapiro says Americans' low spending reflects "cruel lesson" about the dangers of debt

Highlights

Susan Murphy elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Maggie Levenstein named director of ISR's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Arline Geronimus receives 2016 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

PSC spring 2016 newsletter: Kristin Seefeldt, Brady West, newly funded projects, ISR Runs for Bob, and more

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

Willpower and the optimal control of visceral urges

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Ozdenoren, E., Stephen Salant, and Daniel Silverman. 2012. "Willpower and the optimal control of visceral urges." Journal of the European Economic Association, 10(2): 342-368.

Common intuition and experimental psychology suggest that the ability to self-regulate (willpower) is a depletable resource. We investigate the behavior of an agent with limited willpower who optimally consumes over time an endowment of a tempting and storable consumption good or cake. We assume that restraining consumption below the most tempting feasible rate requires willpower. Any willpower not used to regulate consumption may be valuable in controlling other urges. Willpower thus links otherwise unrelated behaviors requiring self-control. An agent with limited willpower will display apparent domain-specific time preference. Such an agent will almost never perfectly smooth his consumption, even when it is feasible to do so. Whether the agent relaxes control of his consumption over time as experimental psychologists predict or tightens it as most behavioral theories predict depends in our model on the net effect of two analytically distinct but opposing forces.

DOI:10.1111/j.1542-4774.2010.01050.x (Full Text)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next