A large body of empirical evidence documents that people systematically violate the key axioms of the standard economic theories of choice over time and choice under risk. In response to the evidence, new models have been developed, incorporating hyperbolic time preferences or nonlinear probability weights. These models constitute pronounced departures from standard theory, and, as a consequence, are associated with several practical issues. They often fail at predicting more than one important empirical regularity and, hence, are not able to provide a unifying explanation for anomalous behavior in intertemporal and risky choice.
Motivated by these deficiencies, this thesis shows that environmental factors, such as
liquidity constraints or inherent uncertainty, can bridge the gap between standard
economic theory and effectively observed behavior. Anomalously-looking behavior may not necessarily be caused by exotic preferences, but can naturally arise from decision makers' rational responses to their environments. The predictions made by this approach dovetail nicely with existing empirical findings. Experimental data further support the theory's main conjectures and illustrate that it indeed has significant explanatory power. The results
presented have important implications for the design of proper policy interventions and the state of standard economic theory in general.