The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization

39 Pages Posted: 5 May 2006

See all articles by Isabelle Brocas

Isabelle Brocas

University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Juan D. Carrillo

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

We model the brain as a multi-agent organization. Based on recent neuroscience evidence, we assume that different systems of the brain have different time-horizons and different access to information. Introducing asymmetric information as a restriction on optimal choices generates endogenous constraints in decision-making. In this game played between brain systems, we show the optimality of a self-disciplining rule of the type "work more today if you want to consume more today" and discuss its behavioral implications for the distribution of consumption over the life-cycle. We also argue that our dual-system theory provides "micro-microfoundations" for discounting and offer testable implications that depart from traditional models with no conflict and exogenous discounting. Last, we analyze a variant in which the agent has salient incentives or biased motivations. The previous rule is then replaced by a simple, non-intrusive precept of the type "consume what you want, just don't abuse".

Suggested Citation

Brocas, Isabelle and Carrillo, Juan D., The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization (April 2006). IEPR Working Paper No. 06.48, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=900245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.900245

Isabelle Brocas (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3022 S. Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-8842 (Phone)
213-740-8543 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~brocas/

Juan D. Carrillo

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3022 S. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-3526 (Phone)
213-740-8543 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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