Present-Bias in Different Income Groups
The excessive use of credit cards and increasing consumer borrowing has been a major problem. Laibson (1997) suggests the present-bias problem as one of the driving forces of excessive bor- rowing. Shefrin and Thaler (1988) suggest that self-control underlies national borrowing/savings rate. We conduct a survey to check for present-bias as well as self-control problems among indi- viduals in Turkey. Our findings show that different income groups have similar discount factors, i.e., impatience levels, but very different degrees of dynamic inconsistencies, i.e. present-bias levels. In particular, 29.4% of low-income individuals exhibit present-bias whereas this is down to 6.4% for high-income individuals. Using the parameters we achieve through the surveys, policymakers can design appropriate commitment devices for time-inconsistent individuals to ensure a sustainable level of aggregate saving and financial investment.
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