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Strotz Meets Allais: Diminishing Impatience and the Certainty Effect

  • Yoram Halevy

Decision makers tend to exhibit a higher degree of impatience when considering a delay to an immediate reward than when contemplating an identical delay to an equal future reward. This work argues that diminishing impatience originates from the distinction between the certain present and the risky future. A simple functional representation of preferences, exhibiting time inconsistency when the future is uncertain, is derived. Experimental evidence, which is inconsistent with other formulations that account for diminishing impatience, supports the proposed approach. The new theory uncovers a tight relation between diminishing impatience and well-known behavioral regularities in choice under risk and uncertainty.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.3.1145
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1145-62

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:1145-62
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.1145
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  1. 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.
  2. Karni, Edi & Schmeidler, David, 1991. "Atemporal dynamic consistency and expected utility theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 401-408, August.
  3. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
  4. Jawwad Noor, 2007. "Hyperbolic Discounting and the Standard Model," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-028, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  5. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
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