Time preferences for life-saving programs: Evidence from six less developed countries
Poulos, C., & Whittington, D. (2000). Time preferences for life-saving programs: Evidence from six less developed countries. Environmental Science and Technology, 34(8), 1445-1455. DOI: 10.1021/es990730a
Individuals' time preferences for saving lives are measured in six less developed countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia using a stated-preference method. The results indicate that individuals' discount rates differ significantly by country, but they are much higher than those estimated for samples in the United States and Western Europe. Also, respondents' time preferences for saving lives are characterized by a nonconstant exponential discount function. We conclude that the discounting practices currently used in standard economic analyses of development projects are poor representations of individuals' actual time preferences.