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Victoria Pynchon

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She Negotiates

She Negotiates

The 33 cent wage and income gap is unacceptable and unnecessary. So is the cliché glass ceiling. Bottom line, our...

New Year's Resolutions from Harvard Business School

Because we apparently believe that our future selves will behave better than our present selves, we can "trick" ourselves into "doing the right thing" by agreeing today to take action tomorrow that we wouldn't take today.  Though this is one of those instances of social science researchers confirming what our experience already tells us (ever try to quit smoking?) it's worth taking a look at Future Lock-In, one of the most-read articles of last year in Harvard Working Knowledge

Comments (1)

Read through and enter the discussion by using the form at the end
Michael Webster - January 6, 2007 4:26 PM

I never really understood this paper and how it was an advance on Tom Schelling.

"One widely observed behavior that illustrates the intrapersonal struggle to follow through on should-choices is the widespread use of commitment devices that constrain
people from overturning their commitment to a should-choice (Schelling, 1984). The classic example of such a device is Odysseus tying himself to the mast of his ship as it sailed past the tempting island of the Sirens, beguiling creatures who lured sailors to their death. In advance of the temptation, Odysseus precluded the possibility of succumbing to it. Unlike future lock-in, commitment devices do not create a commitment to a should- choice, but rather constrain a person from submitting to the temptations of the future
want self (Prelec, 1989; Trope & Fishbach, 2000; Strotz, 1956; Thaler & Shefirn, 1981). "

Schelling argued, correctly in my opinion, that a necessary element of commitment was the elimination of choice.

I just don't understand the future-lock in criticism of this position.

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