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Intertemporal Choice - Toward an Integrative Framework

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  • Berns, Gregory S.
  • Loewenstein, George
  • Laibson, David I.

Abstract

Intertemporal choices are decisions with consequences that play out over time. These choices range from the prosaic–-how much food to eat at a meal– to life--changing decisions about education, marriage, fertility, health behaviors and savings. Intertemporal preferences also affect policy debates about long-run challenges, such as global warming. Historically, it was assumed that delayed rewards were discounted at a constant rate over time. Recent theoretical and empirical advances from economic, psychological and neuroscience perspectives, however, have revealed a more complex account of how individuals make intertemporal decisions. We review and integrate these advances. We emphasize three different, occasionally competing, mechanisms that are implemented in the brain: representation, anticipation and self-control.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4554332/Laibson_IntertemporalChoice.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4554332.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Publication status: Published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4554332

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Cited by:
  1. Eva Wölbert & Arno Riedl, 2013. "Measuring Time and Risk Preferences: Realiability, Stability, Domain Specificity," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 4339, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. DeSteno, David & Li, Ye & Dickens, Leah & Lerner, Jennifer, 2014. "Gratitude: A Tool for Reducing Economic Impatience," Scholarly Articles, Harvard Kennedy School of Government 12185844, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Lades, Leonhard K., 2012. "Towards an incentive salience model of intertemporal choice," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 833-841.
  4. Finke, Michael S. & Huston, Sandra J., 2013. "Time preference and the importance of saving for retirement," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 23-34.
  5. Chen, Jing, 2012. "The nature of discounting," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 313-324.
  6. Leonhard K. Lades, 2011. "Towards an Incentive Salience Model of Intertemporal Choice," Papers on Economics and Evolution, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography 2011-18, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. George Ainslie, 2012. "Pure hyperbolic discount curves predict “eyes open” self-control," Theory and Decision, Springer, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 3-34, July.

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