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Intertemporal Consumption and Debt Aversion: An Experimental Study

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  • Meissner, Thomas

Abstract

This paper tests how subjects behave in an intertemporal consumption/saving experiment when borrowing is allowed and whether subjects treat debt differently than savings. Two treatments create environments where either saving or borrowing is required for optimal consumption. Since both treatments share the same optimal consumption levels, actual consumption choices can be directly compared across treatments. The experimental findings imply that deviations from optimal behavior are higher when subjects have to borrow than when they have to save in order to consume optimally, suggesting debt-aversion. Signifiant underconsumption is observed when subjects have to borrow in order to reach optimal consumption. Only weak evidence is found suggesting that subjects over-consume when saving is necessary for optimal consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Meissner, Thomas, 2014. "Intertemporal Consumption and Debt Aversion: An Experimental Study," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100522, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100522
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
    2. Catherine C. Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette & Christian Rojas, 2007. "Debt Aversion and the Demand for Loans for Postsecondary Education," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 233-262, March.
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    4. Meissner, Thomas & Rostam-Afschar, Davud, 2017. "Learning Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 273-288.
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    7. Enrica Carbone & John D. Hey, 2004. "The effect of unemployment on consumption: an experimental analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 660-683, July.
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    14. Carbone, Enrica & Duffy, John, 2014. "Lifecycle consumption plans, social learning and external habits: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 413-427.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Meissner, Thomas & Rostam-Afschar, Davud, 2017. "Learning Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 273-288.
    2. Gibson, John & Johnson, David, 2017. "Why Bother? Understanding the Impact of Financial Obligations on Wage Selectivity," MPRA Paper 78244, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Schleich, Joachim & Gassmann, Xavier & Faure, Corinne & Meissner, Thomas, 2016. "Making the implicit explicit: A look inside the implicit discount rate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 321-331.
    4. John Duffy & Yue Li, 2016. "Lifecycle Consumption Under Different Income Profiles: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 161702, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    5. Carbone, Enrica & Duffy, John, 2014. "Lifecycle consumption plans, social learning and external habits: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 413-427.
    6. Geiger, Martin & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2016. "When do fiscal consolidations lead to consumption booms? Lessons from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-20.
    7. Merike Kukk, 2014. "Distinguishing the Components of Household Financial Wealth: the Impact of Liabilities on Assets in Euro Area Countries," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 0100418, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    8. Enrica Carbone & Konstantinos Georgalos & Gerardo Infante, 2016. "Individual vs. Group Decision Making: an Experiment on Dynamic Choice under Risk and Ambiguity," Working Papers 138739716, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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