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The determinants of discounting in intergenerational decision-making

Wolfgang Breuer, Torbjörn Müller and Eric Sachsenhausen

European Economic Review, 2022, vol. 148, issue C

Abstract: We investigate discounting behavior in situations where both intertemporal and social discounting occur simultaneously. Situations of intergenerational conflicts are characterized by both time delay and social distance and can be interpreted either as a combination of current donations with delegated investments for others or of current investments for one's own and future donations to others. Due to well-known self-control problems with respect to investments for one's own, the second interpretation implies overall higher discounting in intergenerational decision problems than the first one. We show experimentally that discounting in intergenerational decision-making indeed lies between the implications of these two interpretations so that self-control problems seem to be at work here as well. This problem can be mitigated by adequate framing supporting the first view of intergenerational decision problems described above. Our findings are relevant for policy makers and researchers alike.

Keywords: Behavioral finance; Intergenerational decision-making; Social discounting; Time discounting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D64 G40 G41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2022.104215

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