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Reference-Dependent Consumption Plans

Author

Listed:
  • Botond Koszegi
  • Matthew Rabin

Abstract

We develop a rational dynamic model in which people are loss averse over changes in beliefs about present and future consumption. Because changes in wealth are news about future consumption, preferences over money are reference-dependent. If news resonates more when about imminent consumption than when about future consumption, a decision maker might (to generate pleasant surprises) overconsume early relative to the optimal committed plan, increase immediate consumption following surprise wealth increases, and delay decreasing consumption following surprise losses. Since higher wealth mitigates the effect of bad news, people exhibit an unambiguous first-order precautionary-savings motive. (JEL D14, D81, D83, D91)

Suggested Citation

  • Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2009. "Reference-Dependent Consumption Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 909-936, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:3:p:909-36
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.3.909
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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