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Evolution as Learning Yields Hyperbolic Discounting

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  • James Woods

    (Portland State University)

Abstract

Learning is modeled as an infection, which jumps from person to person. The rate of infection mimics individual discount rates and induces savings behavior on its own. It is shown that the apparent discount rate, the combination of the agents' true discount rate and the infection rate, decreases over time and approaches the agents' true discount rate. This decrease, known as hyperbolic discounting, is consistent with what is observed in psychology studies, while the limiting case, exponential discounting, is consistent with market level observations. This model closes the gap between individual and market level observations of discounting behavior without explicitly assuming the two kinds of discounting nor relying on commitment mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • James Woods, 2003. "Evolution as Learning Yields Hyperbolic Discounting," GE, Growth, Math methods 0309001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Dec 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpge:0309001
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on Linux Kile; to print on PostScript; pages: 23; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    2. Azfar, Omar, 1999. "Rationalizing hyperbolic discounting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 245-252, February.
    3. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    4. Read, Daniel, 2001. "Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    discounting; genetic algorithms; learning;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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