Intertemporal Prospect Theory

88 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Immanuel Lampe

Immanuel Lampe

University of St. Gallen

Matthias Weber

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance; Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: May 19, 2021


Prospect Theory is the most prominent contender of expected utility theory to describe decisions under risk. In atemporal contexts, prospect theory is well understood. In intertemporal contexts, however, it is not clear how prospect theory should be applied (in particular, whether probabilities should be weighted within time periods or whether the probabilities of present values should be weighted). It is also unclear what parametric specifications of probability-weighting and value functions should be used. We find in a pre-registered experiment on a representative sample that an application of prospect theory weighting probabilities of present values predicts decisions best. Estimated probability weighting functions are very similar to those typically estimated in atemporal settings, while value functions are almost linear with a loss aversion coefficient close to one.

Keywords: Prospect theory, intertemporal choice, time-first vs risk-first evaluation, decisions under risk

JEL Classification: D81, D90, C90, G40, D15

Suggested Citation

Lampe, Immanuel and Weber, Matthias, Intertemporal Prospect Theory (May 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Immanuel Lampe (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Langgasse 1
St. Gallen, 9008

Matthias Weber

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance ( email )

Unterer Graben 21
St.Gallen, CH-9000

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4

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