IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1678.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Evolution of Decision and Experienced Utilities

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Psychologists report that people make choices on the basis of "decision utilities" that routinely overestimate the "experienced utility" consequences of these choices. This paper argues that this dichotomy between decision and experienced utilities may be the solution to an evolutionary design problem. We examine a setting in which evolution designs agents with utility functions that must mediate intertemporal choices, and in which there is an incentive to condition current utilities on the agent's previous experience. Anticipating future utility adjustments can distort intertemporal incentives, a conflict that is attenuated by separating decision and experienced utilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2008. "The Evolution of Decision and Experienced Utilities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1678, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1678
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d16/d1678.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
    2. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    3. Michael Gurven & Hillard Kaplan, 2007. "Longevity Among Hunter‐ Gatherers: A Cross‐Cultural Examination," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(2), pages 321-365, June.
    4. Curry, Philip A., 2001. "Decision Making under Uncertainty and the Evolution of Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 357-369, June.
    5. Paul Slovic & Baruch Fischhoff & Sarah Lichtenstein, 1982. "Why Study Risk Perception?," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 2(2), pages 83-93, June.
    6. Arthur J. Robson & Balazs Szentes, 2008. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1178-1188, June.
    7. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "A Biological Basis for Expected and Non-expected Utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 397-424, February.
    8. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, May.
    9. Larry Samuelson & Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "The Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 496-500, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-544, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, 2014. "Evolution of similarity judgements in intertemporal choice," Discussion Papers 2014-06, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    2. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    3. Olivier Gossner & Christoph Kuzmics, 2019. "Preferences Under Ignorance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(1), pages 241-257, February.
    4. Heutel, Garth, 2010. "Optimal Policy Instruments for Externality-Producing Durable Goods under Time Inconsistency," UNCG Economics Working Papers 10-5, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    5. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
    6. Colombo, Sergio & Hanley, Nicholas & Tinch, Dugald, 2010. "Differences between Decision and Experienced Utility: An Investigation using the Choice Experiment method," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-13, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    7. Rong Hai & Andrew Postlewaite & Dirk Krueger, 2013. "On the Welfare Cost of Consumption Fluctuations in the Presence of Memorable Goods, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-012, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 15 Apr 2014.
    8. Antoine Bommier, 2008. "Rational Impatience ?," Working Papers hal-00441880, HAL.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-1953, December.
    2. Marieka M. Klawitter & C. Leigh Anderson & Mary Kay Gugerty, 2013. "Savings And Personal Discount Rates In A Matched Savings Program For Low-Income Families," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 468-485, July.
    3. Ned Augenblick & Muriel Niederle & Charles Sprenger, 2013. "Working Over Time: Dynamic Inconsistency in Real Effort Tasks," NBER Working Papers 18734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. C. Leigh ANDERSON & Mary Kay GUGERTY, 2009. "Intertemporal Choice And Development Policy: New Evidence On Time‐Varying Discount Rates From Vietnam And Russia," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 47(2), pages 123-146, June.
    5. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2016. "Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 291-312, June.
    6. Thomas J Brennan & Andrew W Lo, 2012. "An Evolutionary Model of Bounded Rationality and Intelligence," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(11), pages 1-8, November.
    7. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, 2014. "Evolution of similarity judgements in intertemporal choice," Discussion Papers 2014-06, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    8. Richard G. Newell & Juha Siikamäki, 2014. "Nudging Energy Efficiency Behavior: The Role of Information Labels," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 555-598.
    9. Robin Cubitt & Daniel Read, 2007. "Can intertemporal choice experiments elicit time preferences for consumption?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 369-389, December.
    10. Carlsson, Fredrik & Yang, Xiaojun, 2013. "Intertemporal Choice Shifts in Households: Do they occur and are they good?," Working Papers in Economics 569, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    11. Jindrich Matousek, 2018. "Individual Discount Rates: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence," Working Papers IES 2018/40, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Dec 2018.
    12. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Weber, 2015. "Sexual selection, conspicuous consumption and economic growth," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 189-206, July.
    13. 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.
    14. Andrew Meyer, 2013. "Estimating discount factors for public and private goods and testing competing discounting hypotheses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 133-173, April.
    15. Israel, Avi & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shavit, Tal, 2021. "Time preference under cognitive load - An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    16. Richards, Timothy J. & Hamilton, Stephen F., 2012. "Obesity and Hyperbolic Discounting: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(2), pages 1-18, August.
    17. David Bradford & Charles Courtemanche & Garth Heutel & Patrick McAlvanah & Christopher Ruhm, 2017. "Time preferences and consumer behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 119-145, December.
    18. Carlsson, Fredrik & He, Haoran & Martinsson, Peter & Qin, Ping & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Household decision making in rural China: Using experiments to estimate the influences of spouses," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 525-536.
    19. Wang, Mei & Rieger, Marc Oliver & Hens, Thorsten, 2016. "How time preferences differ: Evidence from 53 countries," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 115-135.
    20. Nick Netzer, 2009. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 937-955, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discounting; Evolution; Present bias; Time preference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1678. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cowleus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Matthew Regan (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cowleus.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.