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Patience, self-control and the demand for commitment: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment

Alan, Sule and Ertac, Seda (2015) 'Patience, self-control and the demand for commitment: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment.' Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 115. pp. 111-122. ISSN 0167-2681

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Patience and self-control are important non-cognitive skills that are associated with favorable educational, economic and social outcomes. This paper provides empirical evidence to inform discussions on possible educational interventions to make children more forward-looking or less present-biased, by putting forward a way to identify self-control problems in children and exploring the role of commitment devices in mitigating such problems. We report results from an experiment that measures planned allocations, the demand for a commitment device, and actual choices in the context of chocolate consumption over two days. The experiment is conducted as part of a large field study on children's preferences, which allows us to correlate behavior with variables related to the subjects' socio-economic background and educational environment, as well as preference parameters elicited through other tasks and surveys. We find a large demand for commitment among children. In addition, we identify important correlations between patience, commitment demand and time inconsistency, as well as student-specific personality traits and outcomes such as school success.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Patience; Self-control; Commitment; Intertemporal choice; Experiments
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2022 18:01

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