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Measuring Time and Risk Preferences: Realiability, Stability, Domain Specificity

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  • Eva Wölbert
  • Arno Riedl

Abstract

To accurately predict behavior economists need reliable measures of individual time preferences and attitudes toward risk and typically need to assume stability of these characteristics over time and across decision domains. We test the reliability of two choice tasks for eliciting discount rates, risk aversion, and probability weighting and assess the stability of these characteristics over time and across situations. We find high reliability and that individual characteristics are remarkably stable over time. The estimated parameters correlate well with self-reported decisions in financial domains, but are largely uncorrelated with decisions in other important life domains involving intertemporal trade-offs and risk.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4339.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4339

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Keywords: time discounting; risk aversion; probability weighting; reliability; stability; domain specificity; experiment;

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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2011. "Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants, and behavioral consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20048, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  12. Borghans,Lex & Golsteyn,Bart H.H., 2005. "Time Discounting and the Body Mass Index," ROA Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  14. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
  15. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Lost In State Space: Are Preferences Stable?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1091-1112, 08.
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