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Exploring differences in empirical time preference rates for health: an application of meta-regression


  • Francis Asenso-Boadi

    (Economics Department, University of Cape Coast, Ghana)

  • Tim J. Peters

    (Primary Care Health Services Research, Department of Community Based Medicine, University of Bristol, UK)

  • Joanna Coast

    (Health Economics Facility, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, UK)


Estimated time preference rates are extremely varied, with many rates being extremely high. Reviewing empirical studies without quantitative synthesis of their findings is largely unhelpful in determining how rates vary according to different factors. This study therefore explores the use of meta-regression techniques to combine available evidence to draw reliable conclusions about the factors influencing empirical time preference rates. Papers reporting empirically derived time preference rates related to health and health-care programmes were selected. Included were papers presenting all of: a mean time preference rate; information allowing derivation of standard errors; and one or more covariates. Appropriate data were derived from only eight of the 16 papers reporting empirical time preference rates. Meta-regression indicated that there were statistically significant relationships between mean time preference rates and: (a) delay period on a log scale; (b) whether the outcome question related to a gain or a loss. There were a number of limitations related to the use of meta-regression in this area, including difficulties in extracting appropriate data from the original studies, and the extent to which the original studies provide fully deliberated estimates of time preference. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Asenso-Boadi & Tim J. Peters & Joanna Coast, 2008. "Exploring differences in empirical time preference rates for health: an application of meta-regression," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 235-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:2:p:235-248 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1256

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Richard D. Smith, 2003. "Construction of the contingent valuation market in health care:a critical assessment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(8), pages 609-628.
    3. Chapman, Gretchen B., 1996. "Expectations and Preferences for Sequences of Health and Money," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 59-75, July.
    4. Lowenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1991. "Negative Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 347-352, May.
    5. Cairns, John & Van der Pol, Marjon, 1997. "Constant and decreasing timing aversion for saving lives," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(11), pages 1653-1659, December.
    6. Harvey, Charles M., 1994. "The reasonableness of non-constant discounting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 31-51, January.
    7. Dolan, Paul & Cookson, Richard, 2000. "A qualitative study of the extent to which health gain matters when choosing between groups of patients," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 19-30, February.
    8. Horowitz, John K & Carson, Richard T, 1990. "Discounting Statistical Lives," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 403-413, December.
    9. Olsen, Jan Abel, 1993. "On what basis should health be discounted?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 39-53, April.
    10. Erik Nord & Jose Luis Pinto & Jeff Richardson & Paul Menzel & Peter Ubel, 1999. "Incorporating societal concerns for fairness in numerical valuations of health programmes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 25-39.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dodd, Mark C., 2014. "Intertemporal discounting as a risk factor for high BMI: Evidence from Australia, 2008," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 83-97.
    2. Erik Nord & Jose Luis Pinto & Jeff Richardson & Paul Menzel & Peter Ubel, 1999. "Incorporating societal concerns for fairness in numerical valuations of health programmes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 25-39.
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mike Paulden & Karl Claxton, 2009. "Budget allocation and the revealed social rate of time preference for health," Working Papers 053cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    5. Maamar Sebri, 2014. "A meta-analysis of residential water demand studies," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 499-520, June.

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