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The missing link: unifying risk taking and time discounting

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  • Thomas Epper
  • Helga Fehr-Duda

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 patterns of risk taking and time discounting behavior, which suggests that there is a common underlying force driving these interactions. Here we show that decision makers' anticipation of 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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, revised Oct 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:096
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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. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2013. "A reconciliation of time preference elicitation methods," MPRA Paper 46916, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 May 2013.
    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 taking; time discounting; probability weighting; decreasing impatience; increasing risk tolerance; preference for late resolution of uncertainty; preference for one-shot resolution of uncertainty;

    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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