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Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons

Author

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  • Catherine Eckel
  • Cathleen Johnson
  • Claude Montmarquette

Abstract

We explore the predictive capacity of short-horizon time preference decisions for long-horizon investment decisions. We use experimental evidence from a sample of Canadian working poor. Each subject made a set of decisions trading off present and future amounts of money. Decisions involved both short and long time horizons, with stakes ranging up to six hundred dollars. Short horizon preference decisions do well in predicting the long-horizon investment decisions. These short horizon questions are much less expensive to administer but yield much higher estimated discount rates. We find no evidence that the present-biased preference measures generated from the short-horizon time preference decisions indicate any bias in long-term investment decisions. We also show that individuals are heterogeneous with respect to discount rates generated by short-horizon time preference decisions and long-horizon time preference decisions. Dans cet article, nous évaluons si les préférences exprimées pour le présent peuvent prédire les décisions d'investissement dans le long terme. L'article mobilise l'approche de l'économie expérimentale avec comme participants des travailleurs canadiens à faibles revenus. Chaque participant est invité à choisir entre une somme qu'il peut toucher à très court terme et un montant plus élevé, mais qui ne lui sera versé que plus tard dans le temps. Pour certains choix, les montants ne seront disponibles que dans 7 ans et peuvent atteindre jusqu'à 600 $. Nous trouvons que les décisions entre le présent et un horizon de court terme permettent de prédire les arbitrages réalisés par les participants entre le présent et des décisions à plus long terme. Ce résultat est important dans la mesure où il est plus difficile et coûteux d'étudier les décisions de long terme que celles de court terme. Nous observons également une forte hétérogénéité entre les participants relativement à leurs taux d'escompte de court et de long terme.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-45
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    File URL: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2004s-45.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2002. "Will the Working Poor Invest in Human Capital? A Laboratory Experiment," CIRANO Project Reports 2002rp-08, CIRANO.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    2. Wieland Mueller & Eline van der Heijden & Tobias J. Klein & Jan Potters, 2011. "Nudges and Impatience: Evidence from a Large Scale Experiment," Vienna Economics Papers 1110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    3. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 193-210, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Jim Engle-Warnick & Sonia Laszlo, 2017. "Learning-by-doing in an ambiguous environment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 71-94, August.
    6. Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Adrian Bruhin, 2011. "Viewing the future through a warped lens: Why uncertainty generates hyperbolic discounting," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 169-203, December.
    8. Machado, Fabiana, 2011. "Inequality, Uncertainty, and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 35665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Impatience and credit behavior: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers 07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    10. Arya, Shweta & Eckel, Catherine & Colin, Wichman, 2011. "Anatomy of the Credit Score," MPRA Paper 47783, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.
    12. Leonard, Tammy & Croson, Rachel T.A. & de Oliveira, Angela C.M., 2010. "Social capital and public goods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 474-481, August.
    13. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2006. "The Effect of an Additional Alternative on Measured Risk Preferences in a Laboratory Experiment in Peru," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-06, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intertemporal choice; field experiments; risk attitudes; choix intertemporels; économie expérimentale; attitudes vis-à-vis le risque;

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