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Measuring time and risk preferences: Reliability, stability, domain specificity

  • Wölbert, E.M.

    (General Economics 1 (Micro))

  • Riedl, A.M.

    (General Economics 1 (Micro))

To accurately predict behavior economists need reliable measures of individual time preferences and attitudes toward risk and typically need to assume stability of these characteristics over time and across decision domains. We test the reliability of two choice tasks for eliciting discount rates, risk aversion, and probability weighting and assess the stability of these characteristics over time and across situations. We find high reliability and that individual characteristics are remarkably stable over time. The estimated parameters correlate well with self-reported decisions in financial domains, but are largely uncorrelated with decisions in other important life domains involving intertemporal trade-offs and risk.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) in its series Research Memorandum with number 041.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umagsb:2013041
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  1. James Andreoni & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Estimating Time Preferences from Convex Budgets," NBER Working Papers 16347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Adrian Bruhin, 2010. "Viewing the future through a warped lens: Why uncertainty generates hyperbolic discounting," IEW - Working Papers 510, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
  4. James Andreoni & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Risk Preferences Are Not Time Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000452, David K. Levine.
  5. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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  7. Borghans,Lex & Golsteyn,Bart H.H., 2005. "Time Discounting and the Body Mass Index," ROA Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  8. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe & Schupp Jürgen & Wagner Gert G., 2009. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences," Research Memorandum 039, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  9. Dohmen, T.J. & Falk, A. & Huffman, D. & Sunde, U., 2009. "Are risk aversion and impatience related to cognitive ability?," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  10. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Lost In State Space: Are Preferences Stable?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1091-1112, 08.
  11. Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2012. "Probability and Risk: Foundations and Economic Implications of Probability-Dependent Risk Preferences," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 567-593, 07.
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  13. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
  14. Berns, Gregory S. & Loewenstein, George & Laibson, David I., 2007. "Intertemporal Choice - Toward an Integrative Framework," Scholarly Articles 4554332, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda, 2012. "The missing link: Unifying risk taking and time discounting," ECON - Working Papers 096, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
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