Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Viewing the future through a warped lens: why uncertainty generates hyperbolic discounting

Contents:

Author Info

  • Thomas Epper
  • Helga Fehr-Duda
  • Adrian Bruhin

Abstract

A large body of experimental research has demonstrated that, on average, people violate the axioms of expected utility theory as well as of discounted utility theory. In particular, aggregate behavior is best characterized by probability distortions and hyperbolic discounting. But is it the same people who are prone to these behaviors? Based on an experiment with salient monetary incentives we demonstrate that there is a strong and significant relationship between greater departures from linear probability weighting and the degree of decreasing discount rates at the level of individual behavior. We argue that this relationship can be rationalized by the uncertainty inherent in any future event, linking discounting behavior directly to risk preferences. Consequently, decreasing discount rates may be generated by people's proneness to probability distortions.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.iew.uzh.ch/wp/iewwp510.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 510.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:510

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Blümlisalpstrasse 10, CH-8006 Zürich
Phone: +41-1-634 22 05
Fax: +41-1-634 49 07
Email:
Web page: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Time preferences; risk preferences; hyperbolic discounting; probability weighting; institutionally generated uncertainty;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Myerson, Joel & Green, Leonard & Scott Hanson, J. & Holt, Daniel D. & Estle, Sara J., 2003. "Discounting delayed and probabilistic rewards: Processes and traits," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 619-635, October.
  2. Helga Fehr-Duda & Manuele Gennaro & Renate Schubert, 2006. "Gender, Financial Risk, and Probability Weights," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 283-313, 05.
  3. Helga Fehr-Duda & Adrian Bruhin & Thomas Epper & Renate Schubert, 2010. "Rationality on the rise: Why relative risk aversion increases with stake size," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 147-180, April.
  4. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
  5. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  6. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1991. "Decision Making Over Time and Under Uncertainty: A Common Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(7), pages 770-786, July.
  7. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  8. Lisa Anderson & Sarah Stafford, 2009. "Individual decision-making experiments with risk and intertemporal choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 51-72, February.
  9. Keith Coble & Jayson Lusk, 2010. "At the nexus of risk and time preferences: An experimental investigation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 67-79, August.
  10. Walther, Herbert, 2003. "Normal-randomness expected utility, time preference and emotional distortions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 253-266, October.
  11. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  12. Manel Baucells & Franz Heukamp, 2010. "Common ratio using delay," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 149-158, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
  15. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  16. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Enrico Diecidue & Ayse Öncüler, 2011. "Risk Preferences at Different Time Periods: An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(5), pages 975-987, May.
  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  18. Yoram Halevy, 2008. "Strotz Meets Allais: Diminishing Impatience and the Certainty Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1145-62, June.
  19. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
  20. Anderhub, Vital & Gneezy, Uri & Güth, Werner & Sonsino, Doron, 1999. "On the interaction of risk and time preferences: An experimental study," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,65, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  21. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2007. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," SOI - Working Papers 0705, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2007.
  22. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  23. Lattimore, Pamela K. & Baker, Joanna R. & Witte, Ann D., 1992. "The influence of probability on risky choice: A parametric examination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 377-400, May.
  24. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  25. Mohammed Abdellaoui & ArthurE. Attema & Han Bleichrodt, 2010. "Intertemporal Tradeoffs for Gains and Losses: An Experimental Measurement of Discounted Utility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 845-866, 06.
  26. Pamela K. Lattimore & Joanna R. Baker & A. Dryden Witte, 1992. "The Influence Of Probability on Risky Choice: A parametric Examination," NBER Technical Working Papers 0081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. J. Paul Leigh, 1986. "Accounting for Tastes: Correlates of Risk and Time Preferences," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 9(1), pages 17-31, October.
  28. Charles Noussair & Ping Wu, 2006. "Risk tolerance in the present and the future: an experimental study," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 401-412.
  29. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
  30. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
  31. Selçuk Onay & Ayse Öncüler, 2007. "Intertemporal choice under timing risk: An experimental approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 99-121, April.
  32. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  33. George Wu, 1999. "Anxiety and Decision Making with Delayed Resolution of Uncertainty," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 159-199, April.
  34. Martin Ahlbrecht & Martin Weber, 1997. "An Empirical Study on Intertemporal Decision Making Under Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(6), pages 813-826, June.
  35. Uzi Segal, 1986. "Some Remarks on Quiggin's Anticipated Utility," UCLA Economics Working Papers 392, UCLA Department of Economics.
  36. Peter P. Wakker, 2008. "Explaining the characteristics of the power (CRRA) utility family," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1329-1344.
  37. Mohammed Abdellaoui, 2000. "Parameter-Free Elicitation of Utility and Probability Weighting Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1497-1512, November.
  38. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  39. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  40. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Hammond, Peter J & Zank, Horst, 2013. "Rationality and Dynamic Consistency under Risk and Uncertainty," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1033, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Renate Schubert, 2011. "Energy-Using Durables: The Role of Time Discounting in Investment Decisions," IED Working paper 11-16, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
  3. Riedl A.M. & Wölbert E.M., 2013. "Measuring Time and Risk Preferences: Reliability, Stability, Domain Specificity," Research Memorandum 041, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
  4. Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2012. "Probability and Risk: Foundations and Economic Implications of Probability-Dependent Risk Preferences," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 567-593, 07.
  5. Max Groneck & Alexander Ludwig & Alexander Zimper, 2013. "A Life-Cycle Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," Working Paper Series in Economics 63, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 22 Nov 2013.
  6. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier l’Haridon, 2013. "Sign-dependence in intertemporal choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 225-253, December.
  7. Halevy, Yoram, 2012. "Time Consistency: Stationarity and Time Invariance," Microeconomics.ca working papers yoram_halevy-2012-19, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 23 Apr 2014.
  8. Susan K. Laury & Melayne Morgan McInnes & J. Todd Swarthout & Erica Von Nessen, 2011. "Avoiding the Curves: Direct Elicitation of Time Preferences," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2011-01, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Mar 2012.
  9. David Butler & Andrea Isoni & Graham Loomes, 2012. "Testing the ‘standard’ model of stochastic choice under risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 191-213, December.
  10. Daniel Cavagnaro & Mark Pitt & Richard Gonzalez & Jay Myung, 2013. "Discriminating among probability weighting functions using adaptive design optimization," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 255-289, December.
  11. Laurent Denant-Boèmont & Enrico Diecidue & Olivier L'Haridon, 2013. "Patience and Time Consistency in Collective Decisions," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201329, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  12. Sérgio Almeida De Sousa & Marcos De Almeida Rangel, 2014. "Do As I Do, Not As I Say: Incentivization And The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability And Riskaversion," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 126, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:510. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marita Kieser).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.