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The Hyperbolic Factor: a Measure of Decreasing Impatience


  • Rohde,Kirsten I.M.



Many studies have found that discounting is hyperbolic rather than constant. Hyperbolicdiscounting is becoming increasingly popular in economic applications. Most studies thatprovide evidence in favor of hyperbolic discounting either are merely qualitative or theydepend on assumptions about, or parametric fittings of, utility functions. This paper provides a quantitative measure for the degree of deviation from stationarity that can overcome the problems mentioned. This measure, the hyperbolic factor, can easily be calculated from data and does not require knowledge of the utility function. Moreover, it provides simple preference foundations of the most popular discount functions. Thus, the hyperbolic factor provides an easy tool for theoretical preference foundations, critical empirical tests, and quantitative measurements of hyperbolic discounting.

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  • Rohde,Kirsten I.M., 2005. "The Hyperbolic Factor: a Measure of Decreasing Impatience," Research Memorandum 044, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2005044

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    1. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2003. "Consumption--Savings Decisions with Quasi--Geometric Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 365-375, January.
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    5. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Erzo G. J. Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2003. "Subjective Discounting in an Exchange Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 959-989, October.
    7. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
    8. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-957, July.
    9. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
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    12. Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non-stationary Time Preference and "Hyperbolic" Discounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 511-532, October.
    13. Cairns, John & van der Pol, Marjon, 2000. "Valuing future private and social benefits: The discounted utility model versus hyperbolic discounting models," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 191-205, April.
    14. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    15. Paul A. Samuelson, 1937. "A Note on Measurement of Utility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 155-161.
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