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Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes Towards Risk

  • Nick Netzer

This paper explores a general model of the evolution and adaption of hedonic utility. It is shown that optimal utility will be increasing strongly in regions where choices have to be made often and decision mistakes have a severe impact on fitness. Several applications are suggested. In the context of intertemporal preferences, the model offers an evolutionary explanation for the existence of conflicting short- and long-run interests that lead to dynamic inconsistency. Concerning attitudes towards risk, an evolutionary explanation is given for S-shaped value functions that adjust to the decision-maker’s environment.

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File URL: http://www.twi-kreuzlingen.ch/uploads/tx_cal/media/TWI-RPS-029-Netzer-2008-06.pdf
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Paper provided by Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz in its series TWI Research Paper Series with number 29.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0029
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  1. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  2. Schelling, Thomas C, 1984. "Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 1-11, May.
  3. Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Information-Based Relative Consumption Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 93-118, 01.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  5. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2006. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2112, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  7. Winston, Gordon C., 1980. "Addiction and backsliding : A theory of compulsive consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 295-324, December.
  8. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2004. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," Economics Working Papers 0023, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  9. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  11. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  12. Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 11-33, March.
  13. Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-43, October.
  14. Elster, Jon, 1985. "Weakness of Will and the Free-Rider Problem," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 231-265, October.
  15. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  16. Elster, Jon, 1985. "Weakness of will and the free-rider problem," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 293-294, December.
  17. Larry Samuelson & Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "The Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 496-500, May.
  18. Curry, Philip A., 2001. "Decision Making under Uncertainty and the Evolution of Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 357-369, June.
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