Temptation and Self-Control: Some Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey
33 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2005
Date Written: January 2005
This paper empirically estimates a balanced-growth consistent, dynamic, structural model of intertemporal consumption and asset pricing that allows for, but does not assume, the Gul-Pesendorfer preferences of temptation and self-control, using synthetic panel data constructed from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. One novelty of our model is that the cross-sectional distribution of wealth-consumption ratio is a potentially important determinant for the implied pricing kernel, additional to the cross-sectional distribution of consumption growth, while the importance of this additional factor depends on the strength of temptation and self-control. The estimates that we obtain provide evidence supporting the existence of temptation and self-control in preferences. With reasonable precision, we estimate a significant present-biased temptation strength, and we reject the null hypothesis of no temptation at common confidence levels. We explore the quantitative implications of the self-control problems for equity premium, risk-free rate, and asset price volatility.
Keywords: Temptation, Self-control, Gul-Pesendorfer preferences, Asset pricing
JEL Classification: E44, C11, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation