March 5, 2015, by Suzanne

Intertemporal Choice Workshop

brain tile-214364_1280Forty scholars from across the NIBS network and further afield met in Warwick to generate and discuss ideas related to intertemporal choice. Organised by the Intertemporal Choice mini-network in NIBS, the conference was set up to foster collaboration between researchers from different institutions, and to promote policy-focused research ideas tackling the issues related to choice when outcomes are separated in time.

Keynote speakers Natalie Gold (Kings College London) and John Hey (York University) gave presentations which spanned philosophical and theoretical accounts of the way individuals make choices over sequences of outcomes, as well as some empirical approaches that have been used to investigate choice over time. Daniel Read (Warwick University and a NIBS Co-Investigator) provided an overview of new ideas and concepts that challenge the traditional experimental approaches to investigating intertemporal choice.

Representatives from the consumer group Which? identified a range of policy-relevant areas that will benefit from further research, highlighting the reluctance of consumers to switch banks and credit card providers; as well as the upcoming pension reforms that broaden will access to draw-down mortgages, opening the possibility that present-biased preferences might seriously impact upon consumers’ welfare.

Delegates each presented a two-minute summary of their research, collectively generating an impressive summary of diverse research interests and expertise, with applications to areas from the uptake of energy efficient technology, to health-related choices and household financial planning.

Armed with these insights into the range of interests and topics represented in the group, the afternoon sessions consisted of smaller discussion groups, bringing researchers from a broad range of backgrounds together in a series of spirited discussions that raised awareness of the diversity of empirical and theoretical approaches that have been applied to the area of intertemporal choice, and generated ideas for some exciting potential new collaborations and projects.

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