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Egonomics is a form of self-management first proposed by Thomas Schelling in his paper "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management." Schelling suggested that individuals suffer from a sort of split-personality disorder whereby the present self wants a specific thing (e.g., eating a cookie) but the future or past self wants a different thing (e.g., losing weight). Both selves exist, but do not exist at the same time.

Schelling wrote: "What I have in mind is an act or decision that a person takes ...[based upon] preferences [that] differ from what they were earlier...If the person could make the final decision about that action at the earlier time, precluding a later change in mind, he would make a different choice ..."[citation needed]

Schelling suggested a number of strategies for dealing with this issue in his paper, such as precommitment, use of bright line rules, delay tactics, or creating a pre-arranged deal between selves.


  • Schelling, Thomas C. (May 1978), "Egonomics, or the art of self-management", American Economic Review, American Economic Association, 68 (2): 290–294 
  • Schelling, Thomas C. (1980), "The intimate contest for self-command" (PDF), National Affairs (6): 94–118, retrieved 2015-07-13 

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