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Choosing Monetary Sequences: Theory and Experimental Evidence

  • Paola Manzini

    (Queen Mary, University of London and IZA)

  • Marco Mariotti

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Luigi Mittone

    (University of Trento)

In this paper we formulate and investigate experimentally a model of how individuals choose between time sequences of monetary outcomes. The theoretical model assumes that a decision-maker uses, sequentially, two criteria to screen options. Each criterion only permits a decision between some pairs of options, while the other options are incomparable according to that criterion. When the first criterion is not decisive, the decision maker resorts to the second criterion to select an alternative. This type of decision procedures has encountered the favour of several psychologists, though it is quite under-explored in the economics domain. In the experiment we find that: 1) traditional economic models based on discounting alone cannot explain a significant (almost 30%) proportion of the data no matter how much variability in the discount functions is allowed; 2) our model, despite considering only a specific (exponential) form of discounting, can explain the data much better solely thanks to the use of the secondary criterion; 3) our model explains certain specific patterns in the choices of the 'irrational' people. We can safely reject the hypothesis that anomalous behaviour is due simply to random 'mistakes' around the basic predictions of discounting theories: the deviations are not random and there are clear systematic patterns of association between 'irrational' choices.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 562.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp562
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  1. Gary Gigliotti & Barry Sopher, 1996. "Violations of Present-value Maximization in Income Choice," Departmental Working Papers 199624, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2006. "Two-stage Boundedly Rational Choice Procedures: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 561, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  3. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2002. "A vague theory of choice over time," Game Theory and Information 0203004, EconWPA, revised 21 Jun 2002.
  4. 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.
  5. Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
  6. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt, 2010. "Intertemporal Tradeoffs for Gains and Losses: An Experimental Measurement of Discounted Utility," Post-Print hal-00537058, HAL.
  7. Rubinstein, A., 2000. "Is it "Economics and Psychology"?: the Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," Papers 2000-21, Tel Aviv.
  8. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice," Microeconomics 0407005, EconWPA, revised 21 Jul 2005.
  9. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Choice over Time," Working Papers 605, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  10. Selten,Reinhard, . "Properties of a measure of predictive succes," Discussion Paper Serie B 130, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. 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.
  12. Rubinstein, Ariel, 2001. "A theorist's view of experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 615-628, May.
  13. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  14. Lowenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1991. "Negative Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 347-52, May.
  15. 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.
  16. Ariel Rubinstein, 2003. ""Economics and Psychology"? The Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1207-1216, November.
  17. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
  18. Guyse, Jeffery L. & Keller, L. Robin & Eppel, Thomas, 2002. "Valuing Environmental Outcomes: Preferences for Constant or Improving Sequences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 253-277, March.
  19. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
  20. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
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