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The Missing Link: Unifying Risk Taking and Time Discounting

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  • Epper, Thomas

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  • Fehr-Duda, Helga

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Abstract

Standard economic models view risk taking and time discounting as two independent dimensions of decision makers’ behavior. However, mounting experimental evidence demonstrates the existence of robust and systematic interaction effects. There are striking parallels in patternsof risk taking and time discounting behavior, which suggests that there is a common underlying force driving these interactions. Here we show that decision makers’ anticipationof something going wrong in the future conjointly with their proneness to probability weighting generates a unifying framework for explaining seven puzzling regularities: delay-dependent risk tolerance, aversion to sequential resolution of uncertainty, preferences for resolution timing, hyperbolic discounting, subadditive discounting, the differential discounting of risky and certain outcomes, and the order dependence of prospect valuation. Finally, we discuss the implications of our framework for understanding real-world behavior, such as the coexistence of underinsuring and overinsuring.

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  • Epper, Thomas & Fehr-Duda, Helga, 2018. "The Missing Link: Unifying Risk Taking and Time Discounting," Economics Working Paper Series 1812, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2018:12
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    Cited by:

    1. Cheung, Stephen L., 2016. "Recent developments in the experimental elicitation of time preference," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 1-8.
    2. Alexander L. Brown & Hwagyun Kim, 2014. "Do Individuals Have Preferences Used in Macro-Finance Models? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(4), pages 939-958, April.
    3. Laurent Denant-Boemont & Enrico Diecidue & Olivier l’Haridon, 2017. "Patience and time consistency in collective decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 181-208, March.
    4. Antoine Nebout & Marc Willinger, 2014. "Are Non-Expected Utility individuals really Dynamically Inconsistent? Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 14-08, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jul 2014.
    5. Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2013. "A reconciliation of time preference elicitation methods," MPRA Paper 46916, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 May 2013.
    6. Wölbert, E.M. & Riedl, A.M., 2013. "Measuring time and risk preferences: Reliability, stability, domain specificity," Research Memorandum 041, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    7. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier l’Haridon, 2013. "Sign-dependence in intertemporal choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 225-253, December.
    8. Nadia A. Streletskaya & Samuel D. Bell & Maik Kecinski & Tongzhe Li & Simanti Banerjee & Leah H. Palm‐Forster & David Pannell, 2020. "Agricultural Adoption and Behavioral Economics: Bridging the Gap," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(1), pages 54-66, March.

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    Keywords

    Risk preferences; time preferences; time-dependent risk tolerance; decreasing impatience; timing and frequency of uncertainty resolution; probability-dependent risk attitudes; over-/under-insurance.;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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