Projects per year
Self-control failure occurs when an individual experiences a conflict between immediate desires and longer-term goals, recognises psychological forces that hinder goal-directed action, tries to resist them but fails in the attempt. Behavioural economists often invoke assumptions about self-control failure to justify proposals for policy interventions. These arguments require workable methods for eliciting individuals’ goals and for verifying occurrences of self-control failure, but developing such methods confronts two problems. First, it is not clear that individuals’ goals are context-independent. Second, facing an actual conflict between a desire and a self-acknowledged goal, a person may consciously choose not to resist the desire, thinking that spontaneity is more important than self-control. We address these issues through an online survey that elicited individuals’ self-reported judgements about the relative importance of self-control and spontaneity in conflicts between enjoyment and health-related goals. To test for context-sensitivity, the judgement-elicitation questions were preceded by a memory-recall task which directed participants’ attention either to the enjoyment of acting on desires or to the satisfaction of achieving goals. We found little evidence of context-sensitivity. In both treatments, however, judgements that favoured spontaneity were expressed with roughly the same frequency and strength as judgments that favoured self-control.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Behavioural Public Policy|
|Early online date||31 Jan 2022|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2022|
- libertarian paternalism
- 2 Finished
The Network for Integrated Behavioural Science - The Science of Consumer Behaviour
Starmer, C., Turocy, T., Brown, G., Chater, N., Cubitt, R., Fletcher, A., Gathergood, J., Isoni, A., Lomes, G., Lyons, B., Read, D., Stewart, N. & Sugden, R.
Economic and Social Research Council
1/10/17 → 30/06/22
Reconstructing normative economics on a foundation of mutual advantage
Sugden, R., Isoni, A. & Zheng, J.
1/01/16 → 30/06/21