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Eliciting utility curvature and time preference

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  • Cheung, Stephen L.

Abstract

In both standard and behavioral theory, as well as experimental procedures to elicit time preference, it is commonly assumed that a single utility function is used to evaluate payoffs both under risk and over time. I introduce a novel experimental design to examine this assumption, by transposing the well-known Holt-Laury risk preference experiment from state-payoff space into time-dated payoff space. I find that the curvature of utility elicited directly from choices over time is significantly concave, but far closer to linear than utility elicited under risk. As a result, the effect of correcting discount rates for this curvature is modest.

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  • Cheung, Stephen L., 2015. "Eliciting utility curvature and time preference," Working Papers 2015-01, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:syd:wpaper:2015-01
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    4. Holden, Stein T. & Tilahun, Mesfin & Sommervoll, Dag Einar, 2020. "Magnitude Effects and Utility Curvature in Inter-temporal Choice," CLTS Working Papers 8/20, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    5. Cheung, Stephen L. & Tymula, Agnieszka & Wang, Xueting, 2021. "Quasi-Hyperbolic Present Bias: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 14625, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. W. David Bradford & Paul Dolan & Matteo M. Galizzi, 2019. "Looking ahead: Subjective time perception and individual discounting," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 43-69, February.
    7. Chen Sun & Jan Potters, 2022. "Magnitude effect in intertemporal allocation tasks," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(2), pages 593-623, April.
    8. Holden, Stein T. & Sommervoll, Dag Einar & Tilahun, Mesfin, 2020. "Mental Zooming as Variable Asset Integration in Inter-temporal Choice," CLTS Working Papers 7/20, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    9. Vásquez-Lavín, Felipe & Carrasco, Moisés & Barrientos, Manuel & Gelcich, Stefan & Ponce Oliva, Roberto D., 2021. "Estimating discount rates for environmental goods: Are People’s responses inadequate to frequency of payments?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    10. Pastore, Chiara & Schurer, Stefanie & Tymula, Agnieszka & Fuller, Nicholas & Caterson, Ian, 2020. "Economic Preferences and Obesity: Evidence from a Clinical Lab-in-Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 13915, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Chung, Hui-Kuan & Glimcher, Paul & Tymula, Agnieszka, 2015. "Canonical Riskless Choice Over Bundles: Aint No Reference Point Here," Working Papers 2015-07, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    12. Carrasco-Garcés, Moisés & Vásquez-Lavín, Felipe & Ponce Oliva, Roberto D. & Diaz Pincheira, Francisco & Barrientos, Manuel, 2021. "Estimating the implicit discount rate for new technology adoption of wood-burning stoves," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk preference; time preference; measurement of utility; discounted utility; choice list;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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