Hunger Games: Does Hunger Affect Time Preferences?

57 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2014 Last revised: 25 Mar 2015

See all articles by Lydia Ashton

Lydia Ashton

University of Wisconsin - Madison; University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Date Written: March 17, 2015

Abstract

Using a novel laboratory experiment I find that hunger increases monetary impatience. This effect is larger when monetary rewards are immediate, which shows that present bias is a visceral response and can help explain why the poor tend to make more shortsighted economic decisions. Given possible confounds between physical and mental resource depletion, I also manipulated cognitive fatigue. I find that cognitive fatigue also increases monetary impatience; nevertheless this effect is driven by an increase in corner solutions. I argue that this may reflect a decrease in attention and an increase in heuristic-based choices. However, more work is needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Keywords: Hunger, Cognitive Fatigue, Time Preferences, Poverty Trap, Psychology and Economics, Physiology, Neuroeconomics.

JEL Classification: D03, D87, I39

Suggested Citation

Ashton, Lydia, Hunger Games: Does Hunger Affect Time Preferences? (March 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2538740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2538740

Lydia Ashton (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

220 Giannini Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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