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Risk-induced discounting

Marc St-Pierre

Theory and Decision, 2017, vol. 82, issue 1, 13-30

Abstract: Abstract We establish a direct connection between time preference and risk about an attribute (health) of the instantaneous utility function. In doing so, we derive a risk-induced discount function that corresponds to a normalized expectation of that attribute. We provide several results characterizing this risk-induced discount function depending on the stochastic properties of the risk, which we model as a discrete Markov process. When it is well-defined, which we refer to as full approximation, the risk-induced discount function coincides with exponential discounting if the Markov process is stationary. However, a slight perturbation of the beliefs can trigger time-inconsistent discounting. When considering non-stationary Markov processes, time-inconsistency also emerges in situations where individuals’ beliefs change in a non-anticipated fashion over time, as exemplified by quasi-hyperbolic discounting. Results are illustrated via several applications.

Keywords: Time preference; Discounting; Risk; Intertemporal preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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