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Time preference and its relationship with age, health, and survival probability

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  • Li-Wei Chao
  • Helena Szrek
  • Nuno Sousa Pereira
  • Mark V. Pauly

Abstract

Although theories from economics and evolutionary biology predict that one's age, health, and survival probability should be associated with one's subjective discount rate (SDR), few studies have empirically tested for these links. Our study analyzes in detail how the SDR is related to age, health, and survival probability, by surveying a sample of individuals in townships around Durban, South Africa. In contrast to previous studies, we find that age is not significantly related to the SDR, but both physical health and survival expectations have a U-shaped relationship with the SDR. Individuals in very poor health have high discount rates, and those in very good health also have high discount rates. Similarly, those with expected survival probability on the extremes have high discount rates. Therefore, health and survival probability, and not age, seem to be predictors of one's SDR in an area of the world with high morbidity and mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Li-Wei Chao & Helena Szrek & Nuno Sousa Pereira & Mark V. Pauly, 2009. "Time preference and its relationship with age, health, and survival probability," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:4:y:2009:i:1:p:1-19
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    1. Tsusaka, Takuji W. & Kajisa, Kei & Pede, Valerien O. & Aoyagi, Keitaro, 2013. "Neighbourhood effects and social behaviour: the case of irrigated and rainfed farmeres in Bohol, the Philippines," MPRA Paper 50130, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. 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).
    3. Wei-Bin ZHANG, 2012. "Habits, Saving Propensity, And Economic Growth," Scientific Bulletin - Economic Sciences, University of Pitesti, vol. 11(2), pages 3-15.
    4. Lydia Lawless & Andreas Drichoutis & Rodolfo Nayga, 2013. "Time preferences and health behaviour: a review," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), pages 1-19.
    5. Richards, Timothy J. & Hamilton, Stephen F., 2012. "Obesity and Hyperbolic Discounting: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(2), August.
    6. Eli Tsukayama & Angela Lee Duckworth, 2010. "Domain-specific temporal discounting and temptation," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, pages 72-82.
    7. Beraldo, Sergio & Caruso, Raul & Turati, Gilberto, 2013. "Life is now! Time preferences and crime: Aggregate evidence from the Italian regions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 73-81.
    8. Tsusaka, Takuji W. & Kajisa, Kei & Pede, Valerien O. & Aoyagi, Keitaro, 2015. "Neighborhood effects and social behavior: The case of irrigated and rainfed farmers in Bohol, the Philippines," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 227-246.
    9. Lahav, Eyal & Shavit, Tal & Benzion, Uri, 2016. "Can't wait to celebrate: Holiday euphoria, impulsive behavior and time preference," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 128-134.
    10. Wei-Bin Zhang, 2013. "Dynamic Interactions among Growth, Environmental Change, Habit Formation, and Preference Change," The International Journal of Economic Behavior - IJEB, Faculty of Business and Administration, University of Bucharest, pages 3-25.
    11. Alex Krumer & Tal Shavit & Mosi Rosenboim, 2011. "Why do professional athletes have different time preferences than non-athletes?," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(6), pages 542-551, August.
    12. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    13. Israel, Avi & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shavit, Tal, 2014. "Using priming manipulations to affect time preferences and risk aversion: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 36-43.
    14. Frank Sloan & Alyssa Platt, 2011. "Information, risk perceptions, and smoking choices of youth," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 161-193, April.
    15. Vicki L. Bogan & Angela R. Fertig, 2013. "Portfolio Choice and Mental Health," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(3), pages 955-992.
    16. Dahal, Arati & Fertig, Angela, 2013. "An econometric assessment of the effect of mental illness on household spending behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 18-33.
    17. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2015. "Consistency in Simple vs. Complex Choices over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 10457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Shavit, Tal & Rosenboim, Mosi & Shani, Yaniv, 2014. "Time preference before and after a risky activity – A field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 30-36.
    19. Tal Shavit, 2013. "The effect of optimism bias on time preference," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 128-133.
    20. Wei-Bin Zhang, 2016. "Population Growth And Preference Change In A Generalized Solow Growth Model With Gender Time Distributions," Oradea Journal of Business and Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, pages 7-30.
    21. Zhang Wei-Bin, 2013. "Habit Formation and Preference Change with Capital and Renewable Resources," Business Systems Research, De Gruyter Open, vol. 4(2), pages 108-125, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective discount rate; delay discounting; expected survival probability; health; age; South Africa.;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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