Preferences for Consistency
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Bonn - Economic Science Area; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
University of Bonn
July 29, 2011
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3528
This paper studies how a preference for consistency can affect economic decision-making. We propose a two-period model where people have a preference for consistency because consistent behavior allows them to signal personal and intellectual strength. We then present three experiments that study main predictions and implications of the model. The first is a simple principal-agent experiment that shows that consistency is valued by others and that this value is anticipated. The second experiment underlines the crucial role of early commitment for consistency preferences. Finally we show how preferences for consistency can be used to manipulate choices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: consistency preferences, experiments, early commitment, charitable giving, social influence
JEL Classification: C910, D030, D640working papers series
Date posted: August 2, 2011
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