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

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

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 65 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 524-540

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:524-540
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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