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Foundations and Properties of Time Discount Functions

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  • Ali al-Nowaihi

    ()

  • Sanjit Dhami

    ()

Abstract

A critical element in all discounted utility models is the specification of a discount function. We extend the standard model to allow for reference points for both out- comes and time. We consider the axiomatic foundations and properties of two main classes of discount functions. The first, the Loewenstein-Prelec discount function, accounts for declining impatience but cannot account for the evidence on subadditivity. A second class of discount functions, the Read-Scholten discount function accounts for declining impatience and subadditivity. We derive restrictions on an individual’s preferences to expedite or to delay an outcome that give rise to the discount functions under consideration. As an application of our framework we consider the explanation of the common difference effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2013. "Foundations and Properties of Time Discount Functions," Discussion Papers in Economics 13/27, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:13/27
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/repec/lec/leecon/dp13-27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    2. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2008. "A general theory of time discounting: The reference-time theory of intertemporal choice," Discussion Papers in Economics 08/22, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    3. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
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    5. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
    6. al-Nowaihi, Ali & Dhami, Sanjit, 2009. "A value function that explains the magnitude and sign effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 224-229, December.
    7. al-Nowaihi, Ali & Dhami, Sanjit, 2006. "A note on the Loewenstein-Prelec theory of intertemporal choice," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 99-108, July.
    8. Wakker,Peter P., 2010. "Prospect Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521765015.
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    13. Marc Scholten & Daniel Read, 2006. "Discounting by Intervals: A Generalized Model of Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1424-1436, September.
    14. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hyperbolic discounting; Subadditive and superadditive discounting; Prospect theory;

    JEL classification:

    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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