As is well-known, choices of a decision maker (DM) who attempts self-control in
the face of temptation may exhibit menu effects and “non-standard” patterns. Existing models can accommodate some of these patterns but not others; e.g., they can
explain self-control undermining menu effects, but not self-control enhancing ones. We
introduce a model of self-control with the goal of better understanding and accounting for such effects. The basic idea underlying our model is that the DM experiences
a psychological cost if she succumbs to temptation and chooses in a manner that is
totally antithetical to her commitment preferences. To mitigate such costs, in any
menu, her expression of self-control involves, first, eliminating a subset of alternatives
that are worst according to her commitment preferences, with the elimination process
being reference-dependent. Then, amongst the remaining alternatives, she chooses the
best one according to her temptation preferences. Besides studying menu effects, we
characterize the model behaviorally based on a novel axiom called WARP with norms.
We also show that the model is well-identified.