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Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) Discussion Papers, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

No 2011/18:
How Time Preferences Differ: Evidence from 45 Countries

Mei Wang (), Marc Oliver Rieger () and Thorsten Hens ()

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 in ation. 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: Time preferences; Intertemporal decision; Endogenous preference; Cross-cultural comparison; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D90; F40; (follow links to similar papers)

55 pages, October 31, 2011

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