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Preference for increasing wages: How do people value various streams of income?

  • Duffy, Sean
  • Smith, John

Prior studies have found that subjects prefer an improving sequence of income over a constant sequence, even if the constant sequence offers a larger present discounted value. However, little is known about how these preferences vary with the size of the wage payments. In each of our three studies, we find a relationship between the preference for increasing payments and the size of the payments. Further, our measure of the shape of the utility curve is not significantly related to this behavior. Our results roughly confirm an earlier theoretical prediction that the preference for increasing wage payments will be largest for payments which are neither very likely nor very unlikely to cover the cost of effort. Finally, consistent with the literature, we find mixed evidence regarding the applicability of these time preferences in domains other than money.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23559/1/MPRA_paper_23559.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23559.

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Date of creation: 28 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23559
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  8. Kapteyn, Arie & Federica Teppa, 2002. "Hypothetical Intertemporal Consumption Choices," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 111, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Tania Burchardt, 2005. "Are One Man’s Rags Another Man’s Riches? Identifying Adaptive Expectations using Panel Data," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 57-102, October.
  10. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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  12. Gary Gigliotti & Barry Sopher, 1998. "Analysis of Intertemporal Choice: A New Framework and Experimental Results," Departmental Working Papers 199804, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  13. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 0278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. John Smith, 2009. "Imperfect Memory and the Preference for Increasing Payments," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 684-700, December.
  17. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
  18. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  19. Gary Gigliotti & Barry Sopher, 1997. "Violations of Present-Value Maximization in Income Choice," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 45-69, July.
  20. Christian Grund & Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and the Impact of Wage Increases on Job Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(2), pages 313-335, June.
  21. Chapman, Gretchen B., 1996. "Expectations and Preferences for Sequences of Health and Money," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 59-75, July.
  22. Chetan Dave & Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Christian Rojas, 2010. "Eliciting risk preferences: When is simple better?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 219-243, December.
  23. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
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  25. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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