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We study a dynamic model of self-control where previous decisions have influence on subsequent decision making. In our model effort and guilt are negative emotions produced by previous decisions to either resist or yield to temptation, respectively. These emotions calibrate an individual's self-control, in turn affecting future decisions. Our model explains non-stationary consumption paths characterized by compensatory indulgence and restraint, why under some circumstances the amplitude of this switching pattern increases with foresight, and how unavoidable options that might show up on one's menu influence choices, consequent emotions, consumption paths, and preferences for commitment. We discuss the implications of self-control insights provided by our model for both consumers and marketers.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, volume 68, in 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2017.04.003

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