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A Flexible Test for Present Bias and Time Preferences Using Land-Lease Contracts

  • Pieter A. Gautier
  • Aico Van Vuuren

When agents have present bias, they discount more between now and the next period than between period t (> 1) and t + 1. How fast the future discount rate (evaluated today) decays is an empirical question. We show that the discount function can be non-parametrically identified with contracts that specify payments that take place at various points in time in the future and which are traded and priced in a competitive market. We use a unique land lease-contract data set for Amsterdam, which has the above properties, to test for present bias in a flexible way. We find no evidence for present bias in this market. Even though we allow for a general-hyperbolic specification (which has exponential discounting as a special case), our estimates converge to an exponential discount function with a corresponding discount rate (in our baseline specification) of 8 %.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3549.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3549
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  1. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2005. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1290-1299, September.
  2. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009. "Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
  3. M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," 2004 Meeting Papers 99, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Hanming Fang & Yang Wang, 2010. "Estimating Dynamic Discrete Choice Models with Hyperbolic Discounting, with an Application to Mammography Decisions," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2007. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," Documentos de Trabajo 236, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  6. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
  7. Piet M.A. Eichholtz, 1997. "A Long Run House Price Index: The "Herengracht Index", 1628-1973," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(2), pages 175-192.
  8. Ariel Rubinstein, 2003. ""Economics and Psychology"? The Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1207-1216, November.
  9. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
  10. Ahumada, Hildegart A. & Garegnani, Maria Lorena, 2007. "Testing hyperbolic discounting in consumer decisions: Evidence for Argentina," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 146-150, April.
  11. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  12. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
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