How General Are Time Preferences? Eliciting Good-Specific Discount Rates
Diego Ubfal ()
No 6774, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)
This paper tests the broadly adopted assumption that people apply a single discount rate to the utility from different sources of consumption. Using unique data from two surveys conducted in rural Uganda including both hypothetical and real choices over different goods, the paper elicits time preferences from approximately 2,400 subjects. The data reject the null of equal discount rates across goods under a number of different modeling assumptions. These results have important theoretical and policy implications. For instance, they provide support for the idea that time-inconsistent behaviors and a corresponding demand for commitment can be observed even if individuals do not exhibit horizon-specific discounting. In addition, good-specific discounting, under certain conditions, can explain the persistence of poverty and low savings by the poor. The paper presents evidence that these conditions are satisfied in the context under study by showing that the share of expenditures on those goods with higher discount rates is decreasing with income.
Keywords: time preferences; self-control problems; good-specific discounting; savings; poverty traps (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 D91 O1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed
Published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2016, 118: 150-170.
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: How general are time preferences? Eliciting good-specific discount rates (2016)
Working Paper: How General Are Time Preferences? Eliciting Good-Specific Discount Rates (2015)
Working Paper: How General Are Time Preferences? Eliciting Good-Specific Discount Rates (2013)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6774
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().