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Estimating Time Preferences from Convex Budgets

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  • James Andreoni
  • Charles Sprenger

Abstract

Experimentally elicited discount rates are frequently higher than what one would infer from market interest rates and seem unreasonable for economic decision-making. Such high rates have often been attributed to present bias and hyperbolic discounting. A commonly recognized bias of standard elicitation techniques is the use of linear preferences for identification. When attempts are made to correct this bias with additional experimental measures, researchers find exceptional degrees of utility function curvature. We present a new methodology for identifying time preferences, both discounting and utility function curvature, from simple allocation decisions. We estimate annual discount rates substantially lower than normally obtained, dynamically consistent discounting, and limited though significant utility function curvature.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 814577000000000457.

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Date of creation: 04 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:814577000000000457

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  1. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  2. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2009. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," IZA Discussion Papers 4198, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Reuben, Ernesto & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2008. "Time discounting for primary and monetary rewards," MPRA Paper 10650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Yoram Halevy, 2008. "Strotz Meets Allais: Diminishing Impatience and the Certainty Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1145-62, June.
  12. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
  13. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  14. Schoemaker, Paul J H, 1982. "The Expected Utility Model: Its Variants, Purposes, Evidence and Limitations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 529-63, June.
  15. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-71, March.
  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).
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