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Sunday
May012016

RS 158 - Dr. George Ainslie on "Negotiating with your future selves"

Release date: May 1st, 2016

Dr. George Ainslie

Ever make a plan to diet, or exercise, or study, and then -- when the scheduled hour rolls around -- decide, "Nah, I'll just put it off another day"? If you said "no," I don't believe you!

This episode features behavioral psychiatrist (and economist) George Ainslie, who demonstrated the existence of this ubiquitous phenomenon in human willpower, called hyperbolic discounting, in which our preferences change depending on how immediate or distant the choice is.

George and Julia discuss why hyperbolic discounting exists, and how it can be modeled as a negotiation between your current self and your future selves. In the process they explore some of the benefits and risks of this "intertemporal bargaining" approach to willpower, and how it relates to philosophical thought experiments such as the Prisoner's Dilemma and Kavka's Toxin.

George's Pick: "The Strategy of Conflict" by Thomas C. Schelling

George's Other Pick: "Inside Out"

Podcast edited by Brent Silk

 

Full Transcripts 

 

Reader Comments (2)

Mr. Ainslie's argument for the superiority of exponential over hyperbolic discounting does not hold water, in my opinion. I've posted a detailed critique of it here: http://economics.stackexchange.com/q/11839/5393
May 4, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkjo
For the most part I enjoyed this. However, his statements regarding alcoholism were way off the mark. Unfortunately that's the case with medical science, they have a complete misunderstanding of true alcoholism and, unfortunately, are doing more harm than good.
May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDon

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