Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Demand for Self Control: A model of Consumer Response to Programs and Products that Moderate Consumption

Berg, Nathan and Kim, Jeong-Yoo (2010): Demand for Self Control: A model of Consumer Response to Programs and Products that Moderate Consumption.

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Abstract

Is it better to apply effort to increase personal consumption, or control what one wants? The model presented here provides a characterization of demand for self control, namely, its responsiveness to price and risk. Unlike most other models of self control, the model does not identify self control with time inconsistency or rely on the multiple-selves framework. Self control refers to resources allocated to preference transformation technology enabling consumers to moderate desire for ordinary consumption by reducing threshold levels required to achieve goals or target-levels of consumption. Consumers face a choice between allocating resources toward increasing expected levels of consumption or increasing chances of contentment through self control. Because of strong income effects, demand for self control turns out to be non-monotonic in price and sometimes discontinuous, revealing potential for unanticipated and sometimes surprisingly large responses to small changes in price. The model is used to analyze consumers’ willingness to follow new regulations, take up credit counseling, enroll in financial literacy programs, and purchase products aimed at improving financial decision making through cultivation of self control.

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