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Term structure of psychological interest rates: A behavioural test

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  • de La Bruslerie, Hubert
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    Abstract

    Many empirical and behavioral studies underline the idea of a non-flat term structure of subjective interest rates with a decreasing slope. Using an empirical test, this paper aims at identifying in individual behaviors whether agents see their psychological value of time decreasing or not. We show that the subjective interest rate follows a negatively sloped term structure. It can be parameterized using two variables, one specifying the instantaneous time preference, the other characterizing the slope of the term structure. A trade-off law called “balancing pressure law” is identified between these two parameters. We show that the term structure of psychological rates depends strongly on gender, but appears not to be linked with life expectancy. We also question the cross relationship between risk aversion and time preference. From a theoretical point of view, these two variables stand as two different and independent dimensions of choice. However, empirically, both time preference attitude and slope seem directly influenced by risk attitude.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/3033.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/3033

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    Related research

    Keywords: psychological time value; behavioural economics; time preference; risk aversion; hyperbolic discounting;

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    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
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    3. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
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    6. van der Pol, Marjon & Cairns, John, 2002. "A comparison of the discounted utility model and hyperbolic discounting models in the case of social and private intertemporal preferences for health," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 79-96, September.
    7. 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.
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    9. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
    10. Bretteville-Jensen, A.L., 1999. "Addiction and Discounting," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 198, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
    11. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    12. Saul Pleeter & John T. Warner, 2001. "The Personal Discount Rate: Evidence from Military Downsizing Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 33-53, March.
    13. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    14. Feather, Peter & Shaw, W. Douglass, 1998. "Estimating The Cost Of Leisure Time For Recreation Demand Models," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20855, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    15. Bretteville-Jensen, A. L., 1999. "Addiction and discounting1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 393-407, August.
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