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Time-inconsistent risk preferences in a laboratory experiment

  • K. Ko
  • Zhijian Huang


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    We conduct an experiment to explore the time-consistency of risk preferences in a multi-period betting game. Specifically, subjects planned their contingent betting decisions in advance then played the game dynamically later to determine whether their respective decisions matched. We find that subjects took more risk than planned in their initial bet and after losses. In addition, this increased risk was associated with an increase in breakeven mental accounting. Our findings indicate that immediacy of outcomes can lead to impulsive risk-taking behavior and highlight the importance of precommitment to long-term financial planning. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 471-484

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:471-484
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    1. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    2. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1997. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Other publications TiSEM da6ba1bf-e15c-41b2-ae95-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Charles Noussair & Ping Wu, 2006. "Risk tolerance in the present and the future: an experimental study," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 401-412.
    4. George Loewenstein, Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Economics Working Papers E00-284, University of California at Berkeley.
    5. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
    6. Levy, Haim, 1994. "Absolute and Relative Risk Aversion: An Experimental Study," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 289-307, May.
    7. Manel Baucells & Franz H. Heukamp, 2012. "Probability and Time Trade-Off," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 831-842, April.
    8. Milevsky, Moshe Arye, 1999. " Time Diversification, Safety-First and Risk," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 271-81, May.
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