Analysis of Intertemporal Choice: A New Framework and Experimental Results

Theory and Decision 55 (3):209-233 (2003)
Abstract
This paper reports the results of a series of experiments examining intertemporal choice. The paper makes three contributions: First, it presents a new analytic device, the intertemporal choice triangle, which is analogous to the Marschak--Machina choice triangle used in the analysis of choice under risk. Second, we have developed a new experimental design based on the intertemporal choice triangle which allows subjects greater flexibility in making choices, and which allows the researcher to make more subtle inferences, than are possible with designs previously employed. Subjects are able to create their most-preferred outcome in each choice situation by choosing a constrained linear combination of two extreme options. Third, our results show that while subjects do not typically maximize present value, they are significantly influenced break by present value considerations. We refer to this finding as it present value-seeking behavior. We find only weak evidence of several previously documented intertemporal choice anomalies in our framework
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