Dynamic Inconsistency in Food Choice: Experimental Evidence from a Food Desert

35 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2015 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

Sally Sadoff

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Anya Savikhin Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); The University of Chicago

Charles Sprenger

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Date Written: February 3, 2015

Abstract

Despite the great deal of research on dynamic inconsistency in time preferences, few studies have ventured into investigating the question in a natural context. To address this gap, we conduct a natural field experiment with over 200 customers at a grocery store to investigate dynamic inconsistency and the demand for commitment in food choice. Over a 3 week time period, subjects are invited to allocate and re-allocate food items received as part of a grocery delivery program. We observe substantial dynamic inconsistency in our experiment, as well as a demand for commitment among a non-negligible number of subjects. Interestingly, individuals who demand commitment are more likely to be dynamically consistent in their prior behavior. For academics, our work provides direct evidence of dynamic inconsistency in consumption choices in the field and points towards potential extensions to models of temptation. For policy-makers, our findings provide insights on innovations to alter food choices.

Keywords: temptation, dynamic inconsistency, commitment demand, field experiment

JEL Classification: C91, D12, D81

Suggested Citation

Sadoff, Sally and Samek, Anya Savikhin and Sprenger, Charles, Dynamic Inconsistency in Food Choice: Experimental Evidence from a Food Desert (February 3, 2015). Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics Working Paper No. 2572821; CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper 2015-027. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2572821 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2572821

Sally Sadoff

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Anya Savikhin Samek (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

The University of Chicago ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Charles Sprenger

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

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