How Time Preferences Differ: Evidence from 53 Countries
53 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2009 Last revised: 7 Jan 2016
Date Written: December 25, 2015
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
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