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Happiness and Time Preference: The Effect of Positive Affect in a Random-Assignment Experiment

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  • John Ifcher
  • Homa Zarghamee

Abstract

We conduct a random-assignment experiment to investigate whether positive affect impacts time preference, where time preference denotes a preference for present over future utility. Our result indicates that, compared to neutral affect, mild positive affect significantly reduces time preference over money. This result is robust to various specification checks, and alternative interpretations of the result are considered. Our result has implications for the effect of happiness on time preference and the role of emotions in economic decision making, in general. Finally, we reconfirm the ubiquity of time preference and start to explore its determinants. (JEL D12, D83, I31)

Suggested Citation

  • John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee, 2011. "Happiness and Time Preference: The Effect of Positive Affect in a Random-Assignment Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3109-3129, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3109-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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