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Interpreting Time Horizon Effects in Inter-Temporal Choice

  • Thomas Dohmen
  • Armin Falk
  • David Huffman
  • Uwe Sunde

We compare different designs that have been used to test for an impact of time horizon on discounting, using real incentives and two representative data sets. With the most commonly used type of design we replicate the typical finding of declining (hyperbolic) discounting, but with other designs find constant or increasing discounting. As a whole, the data are not consistent with any of these usual candidate discounting assumptions, and they also imply a violation of transitivity. The results have implications for interpreting previous evidence, and pose an important puzzle for understanding inter-temporal choice.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3750.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3750
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  1. Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2010. "Individual discount rates and smoking: Evidence from a field experiment in Denmark," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 708-717, September.
  2. Dean Karlan & Nava Ashaf & Wesley Yin, 2004. "Tying odysseus to the mast: Evidence from a commitment savings product in the philippines," Natural Field Experiments 00206, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Jonathan Morduch, 2008. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence From Rural India," Working Papers IES 2008/28, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Nov 2008.
  4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2002. "Maintenance of and Innovation in Long-Term Panel Studies: The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 276, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. James Andreoni & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Estimating Time Preferences from Convex Budgets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000457, David K. Levine.
  8. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Daniela, G.-R. & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2013. "Impatience and uncertainty: Experimental decisions predict adolescents' field behavior," Munich Reprints in Economics 18223, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Katherine L. Milkman & Todd Rogers & Max H. Bazerman, 2009. "Highbrow Films Gather Dust: Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Online DVD Rentals," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(6), pages 1047-1059, June.
  10. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  11. Burks, Stephen & Carpenter, Jeffrey & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Which measures of time preference best predict outcomes: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 308-320.
  12. Jawwad Noor, 2011. "Time Preference: Experiments and Foundations," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-039, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2014. "Discounting behavior: A reconsideration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 15-33.
  15. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  16. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Rützler, Daniela & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2010. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolecents' Field Behavior," Discussion Papers in Economics 12114, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. 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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