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Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues

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Listed:
  • Glenn Harrison
  • Morten Lau
  • Elisabet Rutstrom
  • Melonie Williams

Abstract

We design experiments to jointly elicit risk and time preferences for the adult Danish population. The experimental procedures build on laboratory experiments that have been evaluated using traditional subject pools. The field experiments utilize field sampling designs that we developed, and procedures that were chosen to be relatively transparent in the field with non-standard subject pools. Our overall design was also intended to be a general template for such field experiments in other countries. We examine the characterization of risk over a wider domain for each subject than previous experiments, allowing more precise estimates of risk attitudes. We also examine individual discount rates over six time horizons, as the first stage in a panel experiment in which we revisit subjects to test consistency and stability of responses over time. Risk and time preferences are heterogeneous, varying by observable individual characteristics. On a methodological level, we implement a refinement of existing procedures which elicits much more precise estimates, and also mitigates framing effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom & Melonie Williams, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00063
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    1. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 9389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 437-456.
    5. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "External Treatment Effects and Program Implementation Bias," Working Papers 9929, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    6. Erica Field, 2006. "Educational Debt Burden and Career Choice: Evidence from a Financial Aid Experiment at NYU Law School," NBER Working Papers 12282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1999. "General Equilibrium Cost Benefit Analysis of Education and Tax Policies," NBER Working Papers 6881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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