IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/enepol/v65y2014icp524-540.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Subjective discount rates in the general population and their predictive power for energy saving behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Bruderer Enzler, Heidi
  • Diekmann, Andreas
  • Meyer, Reto

Abstract

Why do people sometimes refrain from saving energy even if it would pay off in monetary terms? Subjective discount rates present one possible explanation for this lack of foresight, but little is known about their level and reliability in the general population. With regard to behavior, persons with lower discount rates are expected to accept additional costs upfront more readily than those with higher discount rates. Based on a representative nation-wide study, the Swiss Environmental Survey 2007, and a follow-up survey, our analyses reveal that on average subjective discount rates are well above market interest rates and moderately stable over a time interval of four years. Income and education are negatively correlated with discount rates. Contrary to expectations, we did not find convincing support for an impact of discount rates on energy saving behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruderer Enzler, Heidi & Diekmann, Andreas & Meyer, Reto, 2014. "Subjective discount rates in the general population and their predictive power for energy saving behavior," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 524-540.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:524-540
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.049
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513010720
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1991. "Decision Making Over Time and Under Uncertainty: A Common Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(7), pages 770-786, July.
    2. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2013. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 510-531, February.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IZA Discussion Papers 3625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Liebermann, Yehoshua & Ungar, Meyer, 1983. "Effects of inflation on consumer choice," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 379-388, September.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Melonie B. Williams, 2002. "Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1606-1617, December.
    6. Thomas Epper & Helga Fehr-Duda & Renate Schubert, 2011. "Energy-Using Durables: The Role of Time Discounting in Investment Decisions," IED Working paper 11-16, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    7. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    8. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2007. "Choice Over Time," IZA Discussion Papers 2993, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Eli Tsukayama & Angela Lee Duckworth, 2010. "Domain-specific temporal discounting and temptation," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(2), pages 72-82, April.
    10. Liebermann, Yehoshua & Ungar, Meyer, 2002. "Efficiency of consumer intertemporal choice under life cycle cost conditions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 729-748, December.
    11. Burks, Stephen & Carpenter, Jeffrey & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Which measures of time preference best predict outcomes: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 308-320.
    12. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
    13. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    14. Christopher Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie Morris & Jonathon Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual laboratory-measured discount rates predict field behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-269, December.
    15. Lisa Anderson & Sarah Stafford, 2009. "Individual decision-making experiments with risk and intertemporal choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 51-72, February.
    16. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    17. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
    18. Kirby, Kris N. & Godoy, Ricardo & Reyes-Garcia, Victoria & Byron, Elizabeth & Apaza, Lilian & Leonard, William & Perez, Eddy & Vadez, Vincent & Wilkie, David, 2002. "Correlates of delay-discount rates: Evidence from Tsimane' Amerindians of the Bolivian rain forest," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 291-316, June.
    19. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    20. Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon, 2008. "Psychological and biological foundations of time preference : evidence from a day reconstruction study with biological tracking," Working Papers 200819, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    21. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2010. "Stability of Time Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 4756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-481, June.
    23. Liam Delaney & Michael Daly & Colm Harmon, 2008. "Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference: Evidence from a Day Reconstruction Study with Biological Tracking," Working Papers 200819, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    24. Train, Kenneth, 1985. "Discount rates in consumers' energy-related decisions: A review of the literature," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 10(12), pages 1243-1253.
    25. Meier, Alan K. & Whittier, Jack, 1983. "Consumer discount rates implied by purchases of energy-efficient refrigerators," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 8(12), pages 957-962.
    26. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
    27. Read, Daniel & Read, N. L., 2004. "Time discounting over the lifespan," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 22-32, May.
    28. Dermot Gately, 1980. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables: Comment," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 373-374, Spring.
    29. Cairns, John & van der Pol, Marjon, 2000. "Valuing future private and social benefits: The discounted utility model versus hyperbolic discounting models," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 191-205, April.
    30. Trostel, Philip A & Taylor, Grant A, 2001. "A Theory of Time Preference," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 379-395, July.
    31. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank, 2007. "Time preference, time discounting, and smoking decisions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 927-949, September.
    32. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1993. "Energy conservation investment : Do consumers discount the future correctly?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 710-716, June.
    33. Marco Percoco & Peter Nijkamp, 2009. "Estimating individual rates of discount: a meta-analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(12), pages 1235-1239.
    34. Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom & Melonie Williams, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
    35. Yehoshua Liebermann & Meyer Ungar, 1997. "Life cycle cost: an individual consumer's perspective," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 227-234.
    36. Jakob, Martin, 2006. "Marginal costs and co-benefits of energy efficiency investments: The case of the Swiss residential sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 172-187, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Saujot, Mathieu & Lefèvre, Benoit, 2016. "The next generation of urban MACCs. Reassessing the cost-effectiveness of urban mitigation options by integrating a systemic approach and social costs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 124-138.
    2. Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’Haridon & Patrick Peretti-Watel & Valérie Seror, 2018. "Discounting health and money: New evidence using a more robust method," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 117-140, April.
    3. Kimmich, Christian & Fischbacher, Urs, 2016. "Behavioral determinants of supply chain integration and coexistence," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 55-77.
    4. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:114-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Schleich, Joachim & Gassmann, Xavier & Faure, Corinne & Meissner, Thomas, 2016. "Making the implicit explicit: A look inside the implicit discount rate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 321-331.
    6. Siskos, Pelopidas & Capros, Pantelis & De Vita, Alessia, 2015. "CO2 and energy efficiency car standards in the EU in the context of a decarbonisation strategy: A model-based policy assessment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 22-34.
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:110:y:2017:i:c:p:375-385 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Beneito, P. & Boscá, J.E. & Ferri, J., 2018. "Tuition fees and student effort at university," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 114-128.
    9. Julia Blasch & Nilkanth Kumar & Massimo Filippini, 2016. "Boundedly rational consumers, energy and investment literacy, and the display of information on household appliances," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/249, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    10. repec:spr:climat:v:145:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-017-2078-x is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Gopi Shah Goda & Matthew R. Levy & Colleen Flaherty Manchester & Aaron Sojourner & Joshua Tasoff, 2015. "The Role of Time Preferences and Exponential-Growth Bias in Retirement Savings," NBER Working Papers 21482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Cristina Cattaneo, 2018. "Internal and External Barriers to Energy Efficiency: Made-to-Measure Policy Interventions," Working Papers 2018.08, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    13. repec:eee:rensus:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:1394-1404 is not listed on IDEAS

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:524-540. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.