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Understanding intertemporal choices

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  • Enrica Carbone

Abstract

Previous experimental results show clearly that many subjects do not optimize when solving a life-cycle consumption problem. What do they do? This paper attempts to resolve this question, looking at the discounting, hyperbolic and rolling models as possible explanations. Data from two experiments (one an experiment with a typical subject pool and the second an experiment with subjects from the CentER panel) is used, and the advantage of having experimental data is exploited, which means that one can actually estimate the hyperbolic model. It is shown that the (exponential) discounting model appears to give the best explanation - suggesting that subjects do look ahead (as they should) but increasingly less as time passes (as they should not in the context of these experiments).

Suggested Citation

  • Enrica Carbone, 2006. "Understanding intertemporal choices," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(8), pages 889-898.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:8:p:889-898 DOI: 10.1080/00036840500399313
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hey, John D & Dardanoni, Valentino, 1987. "Optimal Consumption under Uncertainty: An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 105-116, Supplemen.
    2. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
    3. Kivilcim Metin Ozcan & Asli Gunay & Seda Ertac, 2003. "Determinants of private savings behaviour in Turkey," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(12), pages 1405-1416.
    4. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-957, July.
    5. Enrica Carbone & John D. Hey, 2004. "The effect of unemployment on consumption: an experimental analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 660-683, July.
    6. Enrica Carbone, 2005. "Demographics and Behaviour," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(3), pages 217-232, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Duffy & Yue Li, 2016. "Lifecycle Consumption Under Different Income Profiles: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 161702, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    2. Carbone, Enrica & Duffy, John, 2014. "Lifecycle consumption plans, social learning and external habits: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 413-427.
    3. Thomas Meissner, 2016. "Intertemporal consumption and debt aversion: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 281-298, June.
    4. Enrica Carbone, 2008. "Temptations and Dynamic Consistency," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 229-248, March.
    5. T. Ballinger & Eric Hudson & Leonie Karkoviata & Nathaniel Wilcox, 2011. "Saving behavior and cognitive abilities," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 349-374, September.
    6. repec:pit:wpaper:513 is not listed on IDEAS

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