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Title: Three essays on intertemporal choice
Author: He, Lisheng
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 9261
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis focuses on the cognitive processes of intertemporal choice. Chapter 1 is an introductory chapter, laying out the economics standard of intertemporal choice, the environmental complications and cognitive factors that drive the departures from rational intertemporal choice and finally the approach taken in the thesis. Chapters 2-4 are three empirical studies. Chapter 2 focuses on the evaluation rule of intertemporal choice. Three different evaluation rules have been proposed: alternative-based, attribute-based and hybrid rules. We contrast different evaluation rules by running a comprehensive model comparison in intertemporal choice by involving fifteen candidate models (eight alternative-based, one hybrid and six attribute-based), three stochastic specifications, and 225 data sets taken from the existing literature. Results lend strong support to the class of attribute-based models, especially the family of the tradeoff model, for intertemporal choice. Chapter 3 studies the attention effects on intertemporal choice. Behavioural theories and experimental studies usually assume an option-wise attention effect on value-based decision making: When an option is focused attention on, the option is given additional weight in the making of decision. Beyond the option-wise attention effect, the study in Chapter 3 reveals a component-wise attentional effect: When each component (or the single value of an attribute in an option) receives attention, it is given additional weight independently. Further comparisons between experiments suggest a probable co-existence of the component-wise and the attribute-wise attention effects, the latter of which is that the comparison along an attribute receives additional weight when focused attention on, on intertemporal choice. The study also demonstrates robust background contrast effects on intertemporal choice. Chapter 4 focuses on a controversial topic: the pattern of impatience concerning the near vs. the far future (i.e., decreasing impatience, increasing impatience and constant impatience). The study tests two ways to look through the conflicting results in the literature. The first is a design bias when pairs of intertemporal choice items are used to detect the aggregate pattern of impatience. This method makes an implicit assumption that the undetected patterns are homogeneous to the detected and thus generalises the detected patterns to the undetected ones. The present study is the first to test the homogeneity assumption and the results suggest a design bias. The second is an order effect on the detected pattern of impatience, relating to the background contrast effect. Taken together, the two findings could reconcile much variation in the detected pattern of impatience in the literature. Chapter 5 is a general discussion. I discuss the results from the preceding chapters and implications on theory development. Further discussion on extensions to other domains of intertemporal choice concludes the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: China Scholarship Council (CSC) ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology