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Exponential-Growth Bias and Lifecycle Consumption


  • Matthew Levy
  • Joshua Tasoff


Exponential-growth bias (EGB) is the tendency for individuals to partially neglect compounding of exponential growth. We develop a model wherein biased agents misperceive the intertemporal budget constraint, and derive conditions for overconsumption and dynamic inconsistency. We construct an incentivized measure of EGB in a US-representative population and find substantial bias, with approximately one third of subjects estimated as the fully biased type. The magnitude of the bias is negatively associated with asset accumulation, and does not respond to a simple graphical intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Levy & Joshua Tasoff, 2016. "Exponential-Growth Bias and Lifecycle Consumption," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 545-583.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:3:p:545-583.

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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