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Modeling Alternatives to Exponential Discounting

  • Musau, Andrew

One area that is often overlooked by economists and social scientists is discounting. Most economic models of intertemporal choice make use of Samuelson's (1937) DU model which leads to an exponential discount function. Divergences from what economic modelling predicts and empirical findings are on the most part attributed to factors other than the discount function employed. We review the literature on the DU model and identify its behavioral anomalies. We look into suggested quasi-hyperbolic and hyperbolic models that in part account for these anomalies. We analyze an infinite IPD game and demonstrate that under quasi-hyperbolic discounting, cooperation emerges as an SPE at a higher level of the discount factor. We further demonstrate that the unemployment equilibrium in the Shapiro & Stiglitz (1984) Shirking model is not static under both hyperbolic and quasi-hyperbolic discounting.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16416.

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Date of creation: 02 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16416
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  1. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  2. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  3. Slonim, Robert & Carlson, James & Bettinger, Eric, 2007. "Possession and discounting behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 215-221, December.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
  7. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  8. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
  9. Kirby, Kris N. & Marakovic, Nino N., 1995. "Modeling Myopic Decisions: Evidence for Hyperbolic Delay-Discounting within Subjects and Amounts," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 22-30, October.
  10. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
  11. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 257-296, August.
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