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Individual Discount Rates: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence

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  • Jindrich Matousek

    () (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Smetanovo nabrezi 6, 111 01 Prague 1, Czech Republic)

Abstract

We examine 434 estimates of the individual discount rate reported in 27 published studies. The estimates vary substantially across studies with reported mean at the value of 0.4. We detect presence of selective reporting in the discounting literature using a meta-analytical methods. Our results suggest that relevant discounting literature overestimates the discount rate approximately twofold. We apply Bayesian model averaging to explain heterogeneity in the estimates. Discount rate estimates are influenced mainly by the experimental design used for its elicitation. We confirm domain independence and the effect of time horizon presented within the discounting task. Our results support the external validity of experiments conducted on student samples and the utilisation of hypothetical rewards in experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jindrich Matousek, 2018. "Individual Discount Rates: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence," Working Papers IES 2018/40, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Dec 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp2018_40
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    2. Kvarven, Amanda & Strømland, Eirik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2019. "Identification of and Correction for Publication Bias: Comment," MetaArXiv dh87m, Center for Open Science.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discount rate; Discounting; Experiment; Publication bias; Meta-Analysis; Bayesian Model Averaging;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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