I am grateful to Wolfgang Pesendorfer, Larry Epstein, Faruk Gul, Ami Glazer, Stephen Morris, Jawwad Noor, Kyoungwon Seo, Gary Richardson, Stergios Skaperdas, and anonymous referees for their comments and discussions.
Perfectionism and Choice
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
© 2012 The Econometric Society
Volume 80, Issue 5, pages 1819–1843, September 2012
How to Cite
Kopylov, I. (2012), Perfectionism and Choice. Econometrica, 80: 1819–1843. doi: 10.3982/ECTA8941
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
- Manuscript received November, 2009; final revision received January, 2012.
- compulsive shopping;
- task avoidance;
Empirical evidence suggests that perfectionism can affect choice behavior. When striving for perfection, a person can desire to keep normatively appealing options feasible even if she persistently fails to use these options later. For instance, she can “pay not to go to the gym,” as in DellaVigna and Malmendier (2006). By contrast, some perfectionists may avoid normatively important tasks for fear of negative self-evaluation of their performance.
This paper models perfectionist behaviors in Gul and Pesendorfer's (2001) menu framework where agents may be tempted to deviate from their long-term normative objectives. In addition to self-control costs, I identify a utility component that reflects emotional costs and benefits of perfectionism. My model is derived from axioms imposed on preferences over menus in an essentially unique way.