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Aggregating time preferences with decreasing impatience

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  • Nina Anchugina
  • Matthew Ryan
  • Arkadii Slinko

Abstract

It is well-known that for a group of time-consistent decision makers their collective time preferences may become time-inconsistent. Jackson and Yariv (2014) demonstrated that the result of aggregation of exponential discount functions always exhibits present bias. We show that when preferences satisfy the axioms of Fishburn and Rubinstein (1982), present bias is equivalent to decreasing impatience (DI). Applying the notion of comparative DI introduced by Prelec (2004), we generalize the result of Jackson and Yariv (2014). We prove that the aggregation of distinct discount functions from comparable DI classes results in the collective discount function which is strictly more DI than the least DI of the functions being aggregated. We also prove an analogue of Weitzman's (1998) result, for hyperbolic rather than exponential discount functions. We show that if a decision maker is uncertain about her hyperbolic discount rate, then long-term costs and benefits will be discounted at a rate which is the probability-weighted harmonic mean of the possible hyperbolic discount rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Nina Anchugina & Matthew Ryan & Arkadii Slinko, 2016. "Aggregating time preferences with decreasing impatience," Papers 1604.01819, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1604.01819
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Takeuchi, Kan, 2011. "Non-parametric test of time consistency: Present bias and future bias," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 456-478, March.
    2. al-Nowaihi, Ali & Dhami, Sanjit, 2006. "A note on the Loewenstein-Prelec theory of intertemporal choice," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 99-108, July.
    3. Matthew O. Jackson & Leeat Yariv, 2014. "Present Bias and Collective Dynamic Choice in the Lab," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 4184-4204, December.
    4. Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt & Kirsten I. M. Rohde & Peter P. Wakker, 2010. "Time-Tradeoff Sequences for Analyzing Discounting and Time Inconsistency," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(11), pages 2015-2030, November.
    5. Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non-stationary Time Preference and "Hyperbolic" Discounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 511-532, October.
    6. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1991. "Decision Making Over Time and Under Uncertainty: A Common Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(7), pages 770-786, July.
    7. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    8. Jamison, Dean T. & Jamison, Julian, 2011. "Characterizing the Amount and Speed of Discounting Procedures," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 1-56, April.
    9. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
    10. Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
    11. Matthew O. Jackson & Leeat Yariv, 2015. "Collective Dynamic Choice: The Necessity of Time Inconsistency," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 150-178, November.
    12. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
    13. Quiggin, John & Horowitz, John, 1995. "Time and Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 37-55, January.
    14. Jamison Dean T. & Jamison Julian, 2011. "Characterizing the Amount and Speed of Discounting Procedures," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-56, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nina Anchugina, 2017. "One-Switch Discount Functions," Papers 1702.02254, arXiv.org.

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