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Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency

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  • Dreyfus, Mark K
  • Viscusi, W Kip

Abstract

This article estimates hedonic price models for automobiles using a data set on almost 3,000 households from the U.S. Department of Energy Residential Transportation Energy Consumption Survey. The standard hedonic models are generalized to recognize the role of discounting of fuel efficiency and safety, yielding an estimated rate of time preference ranging from 11 to 17 percent. This range includes the prevailing rate of interest for car loans in 1988 and is consequently consistent with market rates. Purchasers exhibit an implicit value of life ranging from $2.6 to $3.7 million, which is within the range found in the labor market as well as other market contexts. The model also estimates a significant price effect for auto injury risks and fuel efficiency. Copyright 1995 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Dreyfus, Mark K & Viscusi, W Kip, 1995. "Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 79-105, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:38:y:1995:i:1:p:79-105
    DOI: 10.1086/467326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moore, Michael J & Viscusi, W Kip, 1988. "The Quantity-Adjusted Value of Life," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 369-388, July.
    2. Cowling, Keith & Cubbin, John, 1972. "Hedonic Price Indexes for United Kingdom Cars," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 963-978, September.
    3. Moore, Michael J. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 1990. "Discounting environmental health risks: New evidence and policy implications," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 51-62, March.
    4. Houston, Douglas A, 1983. "Implicit Discount Rates and the Purchase of Untried, Energy-Saving Durable Goods," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 236-246, September.
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