IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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

Listed author(s):
  • Catherine Eckel
  • Cathleen Johnson
  • Claude Montmarquette

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2004s-45.

in new window

Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-45
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1130 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400, Montréal, Quéc, H3A 2M8

Phone: (514) 985-4000
Fax: (514) 985-4039
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-45. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.