Working Paper

Discounting Behavior in Problem Gambling

available at SSRN

Problem gamblers discount delayed rewards more rapidly than do non-gambling controls. Understanding this impulsivity is important for developing treatment options. In this article, we seek to make two contributions: First, we ask which of the currently debated economic models of intertemporal choice (exponential vs. hyperbolic vs. quasi-hyperbolic) provides the best description of gamblers' discounting behavior. Second, we ask how problem gamblers differ from habitual gamblers and non-gambling controls within the most favored parametrization. Our analysis reveals that the quasi-hyperbolic discounting model is strongly favored over the other two parameterizations. Within the quasi-hyperbolic discounting model, problem gamblers have both a significantly stronger present bias and a smaller long-run discount factor, which suggests that gamblers' impulsivity has two distinct sources.


Patrick Ring
Catharina Probst
Levent Neyse
Stephan Wolff
Christian Kaernbach
Thilo van Eimeren


Publication Date
JEL Classification
C91, D87

Key Words