Morten Igel Lau

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Abstract. We design experiments to jointly elicit risk and time preferences for the adult Danish population. We find that joint elicitation results in estimates of discount rates that are dramatically lower than those found in previous studies. Estimation of latent time preferences requires that one specify a theoretical structure to understand risk and(More)
Discount rates are often used in cost-benefit analysis. Whenever costs and benefits for a household or individual are spread over time, it is essential that one calculate present-value equivalents in order to undertake meaningful comparisons. In most cases welfare analysts use market rates as the basis for these present-value calculations. Sensitivity(More)
We estimate individual risk attitudes using controlled experiments in the field in Denmark. These risk preferences are elicited by means of field experiments involving real monetary rewards. The experiments were carried out across Denmark using a representative sample of 253 people between 19 and 75 years of age. Risk attitudes are estimated for various(More)
Measures of risk attitudes derived from experiments are often questioned because they are based on small stakes bets and do not account for the extent to which the decision-maker integrates the prizes of the experimental tasks with personal wealth. We exploit the existence of detailed information on individual wealth of experimental subjects in Denmark, and(More)
Randomization to treatment is fundamental to statistical control in the design of experiments. But randomization implies some uncertainty about treatment condition, and individuals differ in their preferences towards taking on risk. Since human subjects often volunteer for experiments, or are allowed to drop out of the experiment at any time if they want(More)
Economists recognize that preferences can differ across individuals. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of lab and field experiments to detect differences in preferences that are associated with standard, observable characteristics of the individual. We consider preferences over risk and time, two fundamental concepts of economics. Our results provide(More)
Evidence that individuals have dynamically consistent preferences is usually generated by studying the discount rates of the individual over different horizons, but where those rates are elicited at a single point in time. If these elicited discount rates vary by horizon the individual is typically claimed to have preferences that imply a dynamic(More)
We elicit measures of individual discount rates from a representative sample of the Danish population and test two substantive hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that smokers have higher individual discount rates than non-smokers. The second hypothesis is that smokers are more likely to have time inconsistent preferences than non-smokers, where time(More)
We make the case that psychologists should make wider use of structural econometric methods. These methods involve the development of maximum likelihood estimates of models, where the likelihood function is tailored to the structural model. In recent years these models have been developed for a wide range of behavioral models of choice under uncertainty. We(More)
We show that observed choices in discounting experiments are consistent with roughly one-half of the subjects using exponential discounting and one-half using quasi-hyperbolic discounting. We characterize the latent data generating process using a mixture model which allows different subjects to behave consistently with each model. Our results have(More)