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On the Interaction of Risk and Time Preferences: An Experimental Study

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  • Vital Anderhub
  • Werner Güth
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Doron Sonsino

Abstract

Experimental studies of risk and time preference typically focus on one of the two phenomena. The goal of this paper is to investigate the (possible) correlation between subjects’ attitude to risk and their time preference. For this sake we ask 61 subjects to price a simple lottery in three different scenarios. At the first, the lottery premium is paid ‘now’. At the second, it is paid ‘later’. At the third, it is paid ‘even later‘. By comparing the certainty equivalents offered by the subjects for the three lotteries, we test how time and risk preferences are interrelated. Since the time interval between ‘now’ and ‘later’ is the same as between ‘later’ and ‘even later’, we also test the hypothesis of hyperbolic discounting. The main result is a statistically significant negative correlation between subjects’ degrees of risk aversion and their (implicit) discount factors. Moreover, we show that the negative correlation is independent of the method used to elicit certainty equivalents (willingness to pay versus willingness to accept).

Suggested Citation

  • Vital Anderhub & Werner Güth & Uri Gneezy & Doron Sonsino, 2001. "On the Interaction of Risk and Time Preferences: An Experimental Study," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(3), pages 239-253, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:2:y:2001:i:3:p:239-253
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-0475.00036
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