Estimating Discount Rates for Environmental Quality from Utility-Based Choice Experiments
Viscusi, W. Kip
Bell, Jason (Economics researcher)
We estimate rates of time preference using a utility-based choice experiment administered to a nationally representative sample of 2,914 respondents. For the full sample, the rate of time preference is very high for immediate benefits and drops off substantially thereafter, which is inconsistent with exponential discounting but consistent with hyperbolic discounting. Estimates of the hyperbolic discounting parameter range from 0.48 to 0.61. Visitors to water bodies have low rates of discount but exhibit hyperbolic discounting, whereas those who do not visit have consistently high rates of discount and low valuations of water quality.