A Theory of Personal Budgeting
58 Pages Posted: 8 May 2017
Date Written: May 5, 2017
Prominent research argues that consumers often use personal budgets to manage self-control problems. This paper analyzes the link between budgeting and self-control problems in consumption-saving decisions. It shows that the use of good-specific budgets depends on the combination of a demand for commitment and the demand for flexibility resulting from uncertainty about intratemporal trade-offs between goods. It explains the subtle mechanism which renders budgets useful commitments, their interaction with minimum-savings rules (another widely-studied form of commitment), and how budgeting depends on the intensity of self-control problems. This theory matches a number of empirical findings and can guide marketing personal budgeting devices.
Keywords: budget, minimum-savings rule, commitment, exibility, intratemporal trade-off, uncertainty, present bias
JEL Classification: D23, D82, D86, D91, E62, G31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation