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Do Discount Rates Change over Time? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

  • klemick, Heather
  • Yesuf, Mahmud

This study tests the hyperbolic discounting hypothesis using real-payoff experiments in Ethiopia. We compared time preferences over cash and consumption goods and over different time horizons. We found that participants made consistent choices over time and that responses did not vary across payment type. However, participants offered an immediate payment option first selected the impatient reward more often than those offered a delayed payment initially. Participants with greater livestock wealth and smaller landholdings were more likely to select the patient reward.

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File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/EfD-DP-08-06.pdf
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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-08-06-efd.

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Date of creation: 07 Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-06-efd
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

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  1. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  2. Marc Jacobson & Joel De Castro & Vianca Aliaga & Julio Romero & MAllison Davis, 1998. "The Role of Tenure Security and Private Time Preference in Neotropical Deforestation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(2), pages 162-170.
  3. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Holden, Stein T. & Shiferaw, Bekele & Wik, Mette, 1998. "Poverty, market imperfections and time preferences: of relevance for environmental policy?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 105-130, February.
  5. Green, Donald & Jacowitz, Karen E. & Kahneman, Daniel & McFadden, Daniel, 1998. "Referendum contingent valuation, anchoring, and willingness to pay for public goods," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 85-116, June.
  6. Godoy, R. & Kirby, K. & Wilkie, D., 2001. "Tenure security, private time preference, and use of natural resources among lowland Bolivian Amerindians," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 105-118, July.
  7. Dean Karlan & Nava Ashaf & Wesley Yin, 2004. "Tying odysseus to the mast: Evidence from a commitment savings product in the philippines," Natural Field Experiments 00206, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Glenn W Harrison & John A List & Charles Towe, 2007. "Naturally Occurring Preferences and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 433-458, 03.
  9. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 257-296, August.
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