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Can intertemporal choice experiments elicit time preferences for consumption?

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  • Robin Cubitt

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  • Daniel Read

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Abstract

The paper considers what can be inferred about experimental subjects’ time preferences for consumption from responses to laboratory tasks involving tradeoffs between sums of money at different dates, if subjects can reschedule consumption spending relative to income in external capital markets. It distinguishes three approaches identifiable in the literature: the straightforward view; the separation view; and the censored data view. It shows that none of these is fully satisfactory and discusses the resulting implications for intertemporal decision-making experiments. Copyright Economic Science Association 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Cubitt & Daniel Read, 2007. "Can intertemporal choice experiments elicit time preferences for consumption?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 369-389, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:10:y:2007:i:4:p:369-389 DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-9140-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1014-1033.
    2. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 257-296.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & Ronald M. Harstad & E. Elisabet Rutstr–m, 2004. "Experimental Methods and Elicitation of Values," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 123-140, June.
    4. 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, May.
    5. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 351-401.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Slovic, Paul & Kahneman, Daniel, 1990. "The Causes of Preference Reversal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 204-217.
    7. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    8. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
    9. Harrison, Glenn W, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior of First-Price Auctions: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1426-1443.
    10. Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom & Melonie Williams, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discount rates; Elicitation of time preferences; Intertemporal decision-making experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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