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Intertemporal Choice under Habit Formation


Fehr, Ernst; Zych, Peter K (2000). Intertemporal Choice under Habit Formation. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 43, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Many of the most important choices in people's lives have an inter-temporal dimension, i.e., these choices are associated with a flow of benefits or costs that accrue in the future. In addition, such choices are frequently habit- forming. Yet, little is known about habit-forming inter-temporal choice behavior. This paper reports the results of an inter-temporal choice experiment with habit-formation. Subjects' choices deviate systematically from individually optimal decisions in the direction of over consumption. This over- consumption is partly driven by loss avoidance, comparable to a real life situation in which addicted people consume addictive substances only in order to overpower withdrawal symptoms. Our results thus reject the theory of rational addiction.

Abstract

Many of the most important choices in people's lives have an inter-temporal dimension, i.e., these choices are associated with a flow of benefits or costs that accrue in the future. In addition, such choices are frequently habit- forming. Yet, little is known about habit-forming inter-temporal choice behavior. This paper reports the results of an inter-temporal choice experiment with habit-formation. Subjects' choices deviate systematically from individually optimal decisions in the direction of over consumption. This over- consumption is partly driven by loss avoidance, comparable to a real life situation in which addicted people consume addictive substances only in order to overpower withdrawal symptoms. Our results thus reject the theory of rational addiction.

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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 2000
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 21:26
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:49
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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