How to measure time preferences: An experimental comparison of three methods

David J. Hardisty, Katherine F. Thompson, David H. Krantz, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


In two studies, time preferences for financial gains and losses at delays of up to 50 years were elicited using three different methods: matching, fixed-sequence choice titration, and a dynamic "staircase" choice method. Matching is found to create fewer demand characteristics and to produce better fits with the hyperbolic model of discounting. The choice-based measures are shown to better predict real-world outcomes such as smoking and payment of credit card debt. No consistent advantages are found for the dynamic staircase method over fixed-sequence titration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Discounting
  • Measurement
  • Method
  • Time preference


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