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Interpreting Time Horizon Effects in Inter-Temporal Choice

Author

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  • Dohmen, Thomas

    () (University of Bonn and IZA)

  • Falk, Armin

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

  • Huffman, David B.

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Sunde, Uwe

    () (University of Munich)

Abstract

We compare different designs that have been used to test for an impact of time horizon on discounting, using real incentives and two representative data sets. With the most commonly used type of design we replicate the typical finding of declining (hyperbolic) discounting, but with other designs find constant or increasing discounting. As a whole, the data are not consistent with any of these usual candidate discounting assumptions, and they also imply a violation of transitivity. The results have implications for interpreting previous evidence, and pose an important puzzle for understanding inter-temporal choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "Interpreting Time Horizon Effects in Inter-Temporal Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 6385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Reuben, Ernesto & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2015. "Procrastination and impatience," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 63-76.
    2. Pia R. Pinger, 2017. "Thinking about Tomorrow? Predicting Experimental Choice Behavior and Life Outcomes from a Survey Measure of Present Bias," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 935, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Non, Arjan & Tempelaar, Dirk, 2016. "Time preferences, study effort, and academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 36-61.
    4. Felipe Vásquez & Walter Gómez & Hugo Salgado & Carlos Chávez, 2013. "Using Stated Preference Methods to Design Cost-Effective Subsidy Programs to Induce Technology Adoption. An Application to a Stove Program in Southern Chile," Past Working Papers 12, Universidad del Desarrollo, School of Business and Economics, revised 2015.
    5. Freeman, David & Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco & Mittone, Luigi, 2016. "Procedures for eliciting time preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 235-242.
    6. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioral labor economics: Advances and future directions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 71-85.
    7. Vischer, Thomas & Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert G., 2013. "Validating an ultra-short survey measure of patience," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 142-145.
    8. Sebastian Schweighofer-Kodritsch, 2015. "Time Preferences and Bargaining," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series /2015/568, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    9. Alan, Sule & Ertac, Seda, 2015. "Patience, self-control and the demand for commitment: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 111-122.
    10. Wölbert, E.M. & Riedl, A.M., 2013. "Measuring time and risk preferences: Reliability, stability, domain specificity," Research Memorandum 041, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    11. Gopi Shah Goda & Matthew R. Levy & Colleen Flaherty Manchester & Aaron Sojourner & Joshua Tasoff, 2015. "The Role of Time Preferences and Exponential-Growth Bias in Retirement Savings," NBER Working Papers 21482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    time preference; hyperbolic discounting; self-control; dynamic inconsistency; intransitivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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