Does Source of Income Affect Risk and Intertemporal Choices?

Hans Krogh Hvide, Jae Ho Lee

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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Economic theory predicts that consumption and investment choices should not depend on the source of the budget. We test this assumption through conducting two experiments. In both experiments, we divide participants into two groups: those that obtain an endowment through a windfall and those that obtain the same amount through completing a physical effort task. We show that individuals in the hard-earned group make significantly less risky and more patient choices than individuals in the windfall group. We corrobate the existence of source-dependent decision rules through surveying a large and representative sample of individuals. Our findings are consistent with versions of mental accounting theory where mental accounts are linked to source of income. We conclude that consumption and investment behavior are source-dependent, unlike what is assumed by economic theory.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen: Business School
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Publication series

NameDiscussion Paper in Economics
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
ISSN (Electronic)0143-4543


  • house money
  • risk preferences
  • time preferences
  • windfall gain


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