Revising Commitments: Field Evidence on the Adjustment of Prior Choices

Publication Abstract

Giné, X., J. Goldberg, Daniel Silverman, and Dean Yang. 2018. "Revising Commitments: Field Evidence on the Adjustment of Prior Choices." The Economic Journal, 128(608): 159-188.

We implement an artefactual field experiment in rural Malawi to study revisions of prior choices regarding future income receipts. This allows examination of intertemporal choice revision and its determinants. New tests provide evidence of self-control problems for some participants. Revisions of money allocations toward the present are positively associated with refined measures of present-bias from an earlier survey, and with the randomly assigned closeness in time to the first possible date of money disbursement. We find little evidence that revisions of allocations toward the present are associated with spousal preferences for such revision, household shocks, or the financial sophistication of respondents.

10.1111/ecoj.12378

ISBN: 1468-0297

Country of focus: Malawi.

Keywords:
commitment, hyperbolic preferences, lab experiment, consumption smoothing, self-control, Malawi

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