Subadditivity, patience, and utility: The effects of dividing time intervals
AbstractPrevious work has demonstrated that time discounting is subadditive: individuals exhibit more impatience evaluating a delay as divided into sub-intervals. This paper argues that subdivision affects both components of intertemporal choice, the utility function as well as the intertemporal discount function. In my first experiment, I demonstrate that differential concavity of utility for gains and convexity for losses implies that the discounting of losses is even more subadditive than the discounting of gains. Individuals display even more relative impatience over divided time intervals for negative amounts of money than for positive amounts of money. My second experiment utilizes alternative elicitation methods, which impose an intertemporal status quo, to highlight these utility effects. Subadditivity is stronger when delaying an early gain than for hastening a later gain. The reverse pattern holds for losses; discounting is more subadditive when hastening a later loss than for delaying an earlier loss.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Volume (Year): 76 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo
Intertemporal choice Temporal discounting Time preferences Framing effect Experimental economics Behavioral economics Subadditive discounting;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
- Kirby, Kris N. & Marakovic, Nino N., 1995. "Modeling Myopic Decisions: Evidence for Hyperbolic Delay-Discounting within Subjects and Amounts," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 22-30, October.
- Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- Imran S. Currim & Rakesh K. Sarin, 1989. "Prospect Versus Utility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(1), pages 22-41, January.
- Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
- Read, Daniel & Roelofsma, Peter H. M. P., 2003. "Subadditive versus hyperbolic discounting: A comparison of choice and matching," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 140-153, July.
- George F. Loewenstein, 1988. "Frames of Mind in Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(2), pages 200-214, February.
- Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1993. " Testing for Juxtaposition and Event-Splitting Effects," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-54, June.
- Bateman, Ian J, et al, 1997. "Does Part-Whole Bias Exist? An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 322-32, March.
- Marjorie K. Shelley, 1993. "Outcome Signs, Question Frames and Discount Rates," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(7), pages 806-815, July.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
- Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
- Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
- Joost M. E. Pennings & Ale Smidts, 2003. "The Shape of Utility Functions and Organizational Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(9), pages 1251-1263, September.
- Marc Scholten & Daniel Read, 2006. "Discounting by Intervals: A Generalized Model of Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1424-1436, September.
- Charles J. Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah, 2011.
"Impatience, Incentives, and Obesity,"
NBER Working Papers
17483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cruz Rambaud, Salvador & Muñoz Torrecillas, María José, 2013. "A generalization of the q-exponential discounting function," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(14), pages 3045-3050.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.