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Subadditive versus hyperbolic discounting : a comparison of choice and matching.

Read, D. and Roelofsma, P. H. M. P. (2003) 'Subadditive versus hyperbolic discounting : a comparison of choice and matching.', Organizational behavior and human decision processes., 91 (2). pp. 140-153.


Impulsive and myopic choices are often explained as due to hyperbolic discounting, meaning that people are impatient for outcomes available immediately, and become increasingly more patient the more the outcome is delayed. Recent research, however, has suggested that much experimental evidence for increasing patience is actually due to subadditive discounting: people are less patient (per-time-unit) over shorter intervals regardless of when they occur. Because previous research into subadditive discounting has used a choice elicitation procedure, the present paper tests whether it generalises to matching. We find strong evidence that it does, but also find weak evidence of increasing patience for matching. We suggest, however, that subadditive discounting alone may be sufficient to account for all of our results. We conclude by questioning the contribution that hyperbolic discounting makes to our understanding of time preference.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Intertemporal choice, Hyperbolic discounting, Subadditive discounting, Impulsivity, Time preference, Dynamic inconsistency.
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Record Created:02 Apr 2007
Last Modified:20 Mar 2010 16:06

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