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Viewing the future through a warped lens: Why uncertainty generates hyperbolic discounting

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  • Thomas Epper

    ()

  • Helga Fehr-Duda
  • Adrian Bruhin

Abstract

A large body of experimental research has demonstrated that, on average, people violate the axioms of expected utility theory as well as of discounted utility theory. In particular, aggregate behavior is best characterized by probability distortions and hyperbolic discounting. But is it the same people who are prone to these behaviors? Based on an experiment with salient monetary incentives we demonstrate that there is a strong and significant relationship between greater departures from linear probability weighting and the degree of decreasing discount rates at the level of individual behavior. We argue that this relationship can be rationalized by the uncertainty inherent in any future event, linking discounting behavior directly to risk preferences. Consequently, decreasing discount rates may be generated by people's proneness to probability distortions.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11166-011-9129-x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Volume (Year): 43 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 169-203

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:43:y:2011:i:3:p:169-203

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

Related research

Keywords: Time preferences; Risk preferences; Hyperbolic discounting; Probability weighting; Institutionally generated uncertainty; D01; D81; D91;

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Cited by:
  1. Halevy, Yoram, 2012. "Time Consistency: Stationarity and Time Invariance," Microeconomics.ca working papers yoram_halevy-2012-19, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 24 Jun 2012.
  2. Eva Wölbert & Arno Riedl, 2013. "Measuring Time and Risk Preferences: Realiability, Stability, Domain Specificity," CESifo Working Paper Series 4339, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2012. "Probability and Risk: Foundations and Economic Implications of Probability-Dependent Risk Preferences," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 567-593, 07.
  4. Laurent Denant-Boèmont & Enrico Diecidue & Olivier L'Haridon, 2013. "Patience and Time Consistency in Collective Decisions," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201329, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  5. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Renate Schubert, 2011. "Energy-Using Durables: The Role of Time Discounting in Investment Decisions," IED Working paper 11-16, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
  6. Hammond, Peter J & Zank, Horst, 2013. "Rationality and Dynamic Consistency under Risk and Uncertainty," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1033, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Sérgio Almeida De Sousa & Marcos De Almeida Rangel, 2014. "Do As I Do, Not As I Say: Incentivization And The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability And Riskaversion," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 126, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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