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Uncertainty Breeds Decreasing Impatience: The Role of Risk Preferences in Time Discounting


Epper, Thomas; Fehr-Duda, Helga; Bruhin, Adrian (2009). Uncertainty Breeds Decreasing Impatience: The Role of Risk Preferences in Time Discounting. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 412, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Future events are uncertain by their very nature. Therefore, people's risk preferences are likely to play a role in the valuation of allegedly guaranteed future outcomes. We show that future uncertainty conjointly with people's proneness to nonlinear probability weighting generates a unifying framework for explaining many anomalies in intertemporal choice, such as hyperbolic discounting and subadditivity of discount factors. Moreover, our approach implies that higher uncertainty of future prospects increases the hyperbolicity of discount rates, suggesting that institutional deficiencies such as lack of contract enforcement, may be a source ofnhyperbolic discounting behavior. Based on an experiment with monetary incentives, we show that people's risk taking behavior is indeed a significant determinant of their time discounting behavior: Greater departures from linear probability weighting predict a stronger decline in impatience on the level of individual behavior.

Abstract

Future events are uncertain by their very nature. Therefore, people's risk preferences are likely to play a role in the valuation of allegedly guaranteed future outcomes. We show that future uncertainty conjointly with people's proneness to nonlinear probability weighting generates a unifying framework for explaining many anomalies in intertemporal choice, such as hyperbolic discounting and subadditivity of discount factors. Moreover, our approach implies that higher uncertainty of future prospects increases the hyperbolicity of discount rates, suggesting that institutional deficiencies such as lack of contract enforcement, may be a source ofnhyperbolic discounting behavior. Based on an experiment with monetary incentives, we show that people's risk taking behavior is indeed a significant determinant of their time discounting behavior: Greater departures from linear probability weighting predict a stronger decline in impatience on the level of individual behavior.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:May 2009
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:45
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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