Reference dependence in intertemporal preferences

Zhihua Li, Songfa Zhong

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Abstract

Dynamic structures in intertemporal choices offer multiple channels through which reference dependence can occur. We examine intertemporal reference dependence when using choice lists to elicit time preference over outcome sequences. Reference point effects can arise endogenously within an outcome sequence and exogenously from the experimental environment of the choice list. We show that estimated discount factors in the choice list are biased by both kinds of reference points and propose a model to jointly account for both. Our experimental design with outcome sequences also enables us to jointly estimate the discount factor and utility curvature. We further discuss the implications for recent developments in the measurement of intertemporal preference.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Science
Early online date3 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • intertemporal preference
  • reference dependence
  • choice list
  • experiment

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