Here are some thoughts on presumption of self-control theories. They are based on the presumption that we have bounded willpower and that there needs to be a course of action to which keeps in the individual on track to meeting goals and expectations. Thus they derive incentive and constraints as solutions. Constrains, or rules, are meant to restrict the individual’s opportunities.
Do you have any thoughts on self-control theories and relation to behavioral or other forms of economics/choice making?
Yes, it’s called the “Social Acceptance Theory. The need to be a part of the larger group will dictate how one spends money. Their view of “Self” influences their spending habits and financial decisions. Society as a whole follows this theory. Debt is a significant indicator. A person may need a car for transportation. Yet, they purchase a vehicle that reflects the buying nature of their neighbor. They dare not show prudence and buy a vehicle that satisfies their basic need for transportation. They, in turn, choose to buy accessively and pay way more than they should just to avoid scrutiny from those who spent too much themselves. Logic is over-run for the sake of “fitting in” so to speak.
The indians used to herd buffalo before sending them over a cliff. Also, wouldn’t you think that at least one person on Easter Island would buck the crowd and say, “HEY! We’re down to a few last trees on this island! Don’t you think we should plant more of them instead of building more of these ugly statues?” Again, social acceptance trumps individual self-control. Our appetite for debt is tribute to that.