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Which measures of time preference best predict outcomes: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment

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  • Burks, Stephen
  • Carpenter, Jeffrey
  • Götte, Lorenz
  • Rustichini, Aldo

Abstract

Economists and psychologists have devised numerous instruments to measure time preferences and have generated a rich literature examining the extent to which time preferences predict important outcomes; however, we still do not know which measures work best. With the help of a large sample of non-student participants and administrative data on outcomes, we gather four different time preference measures and test the extent to which they predict both on their own and when they are all forced to compete head-to-head. Our results suggest that the now familiar (β, δ) formulation of present bias and exponential discounting predicts best, especially when both parameters are used.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 84 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 308-320

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:84:y:2012:i:1:p:308-320

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Time preference; Impatience; Discounting; Present bias; Field experiment;

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References

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  1. Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom & Melonie Williams, 2002. "Estimating individual discount rates in denmark: A field experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00062, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Stephen V. Burks & Jeffrey Carpenter & Lorenz Götte & Kristen Monaco & Kay Porter & Aldo Rustichini, 2008. "Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Firm: The Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project," NBER Chapters, in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 45-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Christopher F. Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie L. Morris & Jonathon P. Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," NBER Working Papers 14270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  6. Chabris, Christopher F. & Laibson, David I. & Morris, Carrie L. & Schuldt, Jonathon P. & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," Scholarly Articles 11130522, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  8. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2009. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," IZA Discussion Papers 4198, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672, May.
  10. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  11. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2007. "Measuring Self-Control Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 966-972, June.
  12. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  13. Catherine C. Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette & Christian Rojas, 2007. "Debt Aversion and the Demand for Loans for Postsecondary Education," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 233-262, March.
  14. 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.
  15. Gabriel Picone & Frank Sloan & Donald Taylor, 2004. "Effects of Risk and Time Preference and Expected Longevity on Demand for Medical Tests," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 39-53, January.
  16. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Lying About Borrowing," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 510-521, 04-05.
  18. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stephen V. Burks & Connor Lewis & Paul Kivia & Amanda Wiener & Jon E. Anderson & Lorenz Götten & Colin DeYoung & Aldo Rustichini, 2014. "Moving Ahead by Thinking Backwards: Cognitive Skills, Personality, and Economic Preferences in Collegiate Success," Discussion Papers 2014-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Rustichini, Aldo & DeYoung, Colin G. & Anderson, Jon E. & Burks, Stephen V., 2012. "Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic and Health Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "Interpreting Time Horizon Effects in Inter-Temporal Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 6385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Burks, Stephen V. & Lewis, Connor & Kivi, Paul & Wiener, Amanda & Anderson, Jon E. & Götte, Lorenz & DeYoung, Colin G. & Rustichini, Aldo, 2014. "Moving Ahead by Thinking Backwards: Cognitive Skills, Personality, and Economic Preferences in Collegiate Success," IZA Discussion Papers 7952, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Bruderer Enzler, Heidi & Diekmann, Andreas & Meyer, Reto, 2014. "Subjective discount rates in the general population and their predictive power for energy saving behavior," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 524-540.

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