Willingness to Pay to Reduce Future Risk

We elicit subjects' willingness to pay to reduce future risk. In our experiments, subjects are given a cash endowment and a risky lottery. They report their willingness to pay to exchange the risky lottery for a safe one. Subjects play the lottery either immediately, eight weeks later, or twenty-five weeks later. Thus, both the lottery and the future are sources of uncertainty in our experiments. In two additional treatments, we control for future uncertainty with a continuation probability, constant and independent across periods, that simulates the chances of not returning to play the lottery after eight and twenty-five periods. We find evidence for present bias in both the time-delay sessions and the continuation probability sessions, suggesting that this bias robustly persists in environments including both risk and future uncertainty, and suggesting that the stopping rule may be a tool to continue study in this area without the need to delay payments into the future.
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