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Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons

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  • Catherine Eckel
  • Cathleen Johnson
  • Claude Montmarquette

    ()

Abstract

We explore the predictive capacity of short-horizon time preference decisions for long-horizon investment decisions. We use experimental evidence from a sample of Canadian working poor. Each subject made a set of decisions trading off present and future amounts of money. Decisions involved both short and long time horizons, with stakes ranging up to six hundred dollars. Short horizon preference decisions do well in predicting the long-horizon investment decisions. These short horizon questions are much less expensive to administer but yield much higher estimated discount rates. We find no evidence that the present-biased preference measures generated from the short-horizon time preference decisions indicate any bias in long-term investment decisions. We also show that individuals are heterogeneous with respect to discount rates generated by short-horizon time preference decisions and long-horizon time preference decisions. Dans cet article, nous évaluons si les préférences exprimées pour le présent peuvent prédire les décisions d’investissement dans le long terme. L’article mobilise l’approche de l’économie expérimentale avec comme participants des travailleurs canadiens à faibles revenus. Chaque participant est invité à choisir entre une somme qu’il peut toucher à très court terme et un montant plus élevé, mais qui ne lui sera versé que plus tard dans le temps. Pour certains choix, les montants ne seront disponibles que dans 7 ans et peuvent atteindre jusqu’à 600 $. Nous trouvons que les décisions entre le présent et un horizon de court terme permettent de prédire les arbitrages réalisés par les participants entre le présent et des décisions à plus long terme. Ce résultat est important dans la mesure où il est plus difficile et coûteux d’étudier les décisions de long terme que celles de court terme. Nous observons également une forte hétérogénéité entre les participants relativement à leurs taux d’escompte de court et de long terme.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2004s-45.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-45

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Keywords: intertemporal choice; field experiments; risk attitudes; choix intertemporels; économie expérimentale; attitudes vis-à-vis le risque;

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References

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  1. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2002. "Will the Working Poor Invest in Human Capital? A Laboratory Experiment," CIRANO Project Reports 2002rp-08, CIRANO.
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Cited by:
  1. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2006. "The Effect Of An Additional Alternative On Measured Risk Preferences In A Laboratory Experiment In Peru," Departmental Working Papers 2006-10, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  2. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," IZA Discussion Papers 2735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Adrian Bruhin, 2011. "Viewing the future through a warped lens: Why uncertainty generates hyperbolic discounting," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 169-203, December.
  4. Wieland Mueller & Eline van der Heijden & Tobias J. Klein & Jan Potters, 2011. "Nudges and Impatience: Evidence from a Large Scale Experiment," Vienna Economics Papers 1110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  5. Leonard, Tammy & Croson, Rachel T.A. & de Oliveira, Angela C.M., 2010. "Social capital and public goods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 474-481, August.
  6. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2011. "Which Measures of Time Preference Best Predict Outcomes? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5808, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Machado, Fabiana, 2011. "Inequality, Uncertainty, and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 35665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Arya, Shweta & Eckel, Catherine & Colin, Wichman, 2011. "Anatomy of the Credit Score," MPRA Paper 47783, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jim Engle-Warnick & Sonia Laszlo, 2006. "Learning-by-Doing in an Ambiguous Environment," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-29, CIRANO.
  11. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.
  12. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 193-210, January.
  13. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Impatience and credit behavior: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers 07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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