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Risk Aversion and the Subjective Time Discount Rate: A Joint Approach

  • Bernard M.S. van Praag
  • Adam S. Booij

In this paper we analyze a large sample of individual responses to six lottery questions. We derive a simultaneous estimate of risk aversion and the time preference discount rate per individual. This can be done because the consumption of a large prize is smoothed over a larger time period. It is found that both parameters strongly vary over individuals, while they are moderately negatively correlated. Furthermore we explain the estimated relative risk aversion and time preference by income, age, gender, entrepreneurship and an obesity index. Very significant effects are found. If we explain relative risk aversion in a simple model where time discounting is ignored, we find completely different estimates for this parameter. We conclude that in the case of lotteries with big prizes a simultaneous estimate of risk aversion and time preference is needed in order to avoid misspecification

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 923.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_923
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  1. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Schotman, Peter C, 2001. "Measuring Risk Attitudes in a Natural Experiment: Data from the Television Game Show Lingo," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 821-48, October.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  3. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
  4. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
  5. Angelina Lazaro & Ramon Barberan & Encarnacion Rubio, 2001. "Private and social time preferences for health and money: an empirical estimation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 351-356.
  6. Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1999. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries; A Large Sample Approach," Discussion Paper 1999-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Kapteyn, A. & Teppa, F., 2002. "Subjective Measures of Risk Aversion and Portfolio Choice," Discussion Paper 2002-11, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Estimating Preferences under Risk: The Case of Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 503-530, June.
  9. Wakker, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1993. " An Axiomatization of Cumulative Prospect Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 147-75, October.
  10. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
  11. Trostel, Philip A & Taylor, Grant A, 2001. "A Theory of Time Preference," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 379-95, July.
  12. Arie Kapteyn & Federica Teppa, 2002. "Subjective Measures of Risk Aversion and Portfolio Choice," Working Papers 02-03, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  13. Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
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