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Measuring intertemporal preferences using response times

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher F. Chabris
  • David Laibson
  • Carrie L. Morris
  • Jonathon P. Schuldt
  • Dmitry Taubinsky

Abstract

We use two different approaches to measure intertemporal preferences. First we employ the classical method of inferring preferences from a series of choices (subjects choose between $X now or $Y in D days). Second we adopt the novel approach of inferring preferences using only response time data from the same choices (how long it takes subjects to choose between $X now or $Y in D days). In principle, the inference from response times should work, since choices between items of nearly equivalent value should take longer than choices between items with substantially different values. We find that choice-based analysis and response-time-based analysis yield nearly identical discount rate estimates. We conclude that response time data sheds light on both our revealed (choice-based) preferences and on the cognitive processes that implement those preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher F. Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie L. Morris & Jonathon P. Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Measuring intertemporal preferences using response times," NBER Working Papers 14353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14353
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ariel Rubinstein, 2007. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1243-1259, October.
    2. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
    3. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
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    Cited by:

    1. van der Heijden, Eline & Klein, Tobias J. & Müller, Wieland & Potters, Jan, 2012. "Framing effects and impatience: Evidence from a large scale experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 701-711.
    2. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles D., 2013. "Discounting financial literacy: Time preferences and participation in financial education programs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 159-174.
    3. Christopher F. Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie L. Morris & Jonathon P. Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2009. "The Allocation of Time in Decision-Making," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 628-637, 04-05.
    4. Wieland Mueller & Eline van der Heijden & Tobias J. Klein & Jan Potters, 2011. "Nudges and Impatience: Evidence from a Large Scale Experiment," Vienna Economics Papers 1110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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