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Collective Self-Control

Lizzeri, Alessandro and Yariv, Leeat (2017) Collective Self-Control. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 9 (3). pp. 213-244. ISSN 1945-7669. doi:10.1257/mic.20150325.

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Behavioral economics presents a "paternalistic" rationale for a benevolent government's intervention. We consider an economy where the only "distortion" is agents' time-inconsistency. We study the desirability of various forms of collective action, ones pertaining to costly commitment and ones pertaining to the timing of consumption, when government decisions respond to voters' preferences via the political process. Three messages emerge. First, welfare is highest under either full centralization or laissez-faire. Second, introducing collective action only on consumption decisions yields no commitment. Last, individuals' relative preferences for commitment may reverse depending on whether future consumption decisions are centralized or not.

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Additional Information:© 2017 American Economic Association. We thank Wolfgang Pesendorfer, Alessandro Riboni, Nikita Roketskiy, and Michael Ting for very helpful conversations and feedback, Euncheol Shin for superb research assistance, and three anonymous referees for very useful suggestions. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (through grant 1158).
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Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation1158
Issue or Number:3
Classification Code:JEL: D11; D15; D61; D72; D91
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170828-103951662
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Official Citation:Lizzeri, Alessandro, and Leeat Yariv. 2017. "Collective Self-Control." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 9(3): 213-44. DOI: 10.1257/mic.20150325
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80842
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Aug 2017 18:38
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:39

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