Does time inconsistency differ between gain and loss? An intra-personal comparison using a non-parametric elicitation method

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several studies on time preference have found time inconsistency in both gain and loss preferences. However, the relationship between the two within the same person remains unclear; that is, does an individual who demonstrates time inconsistency for gain outcomes do so for losses as well? This paper reports on individuals’ time inconsistency for gains and losses in a laboratory setting. To obtain a precise comparison of individuals’ time inconsistency for gains and losses, we used Rohde’s “DI (decreasing impatience)-index” (Manag Sci 65(4):1700–1716, 2018) and measured the level of time inconsistency, rather than merely identifying whether TI was present. This index represents how strongly a person exhibits present bias, and easily extends to the comparison between gain and loss preferences within the same person. Further, it allows the experiment to test for so-called future bias, which has been a focus area in recent time inconsistency literature. It is elicited through a non-parametric method, which avoids any specification errors in the analysis. Our findings are as follows: first, we found future bias in preferences for not only gains but also losses, and we confirmed that this tendency is consistent with previous findings on preferences for gains. Second, a positive correlation between time inconsistency for gains and losses was found at the individual level. Indeed, we could not find a significant difference between the two in most cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-452
Number of pages22
JournalTheory and Decision
Volume88
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Keywords

  • Future bias
  • Intra-personal comparison
  • Sign effect
  • Time inconsistency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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