How Time Preferences Differ: Evidence from 53 Countries

53 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2009 Last revised: 7 Jan 2016

Mei Wang

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Marc Oliver Rieger

University of Trier

Thorsten Hens

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH); Swiss Finance Institute (Zurich Center)

Date Written: December 25, 2015

Abstract

We present results from the first large-scale international survey on time discounting, conducted in 45 countries. Cross-country variation cannot simply be explained by economic variables such as interest rates or inflation. In particular, we find strong evidence for cultural differences, as measured by the Hofstede cultural dimensions. For example, high levels of Uncertainty Avoidance or Individualism are both associated with strong hyperbolic discounting. Moreover, as application of our data, we find evidence for an impact of time preferences on the capability of technological innovations in a country and on environmental protection.

Keywords: Intertemporal decision, Endogenous preference, Cross-cultural comparison

JEL Classification: D90, F40

Suggested Citation

Wang, Mei and Rieger, Marc Oliver and Hens, Thorsten, How Time Preferences Differ: Evidence from 53 Countries (December 25, 2015). Journal of Economic Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1481443 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1481443

Mei Wang (Contact Author)

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallender, 56179
Germany

Marc Oliver Rieger

University of Trier ( email )

15, Universitaetsring
Trier, 54286
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.banking-finance.uni-trier.de

Thorsten Hens

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 32
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland
+41-44 634 37 06 (Phone)

Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH)

Helleveien 30
Bergen, 5045
Norway

Swiss Finance Institute (Zurich Center)

c/o University of Geneve
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
1211 Geneva, CH-6900
Switzerland

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