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Can We Use Human Judgments to Determine the Discount Rate?

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It has been suggested that the long-term discount rate for environmental goods should decrease at longer delays. One justification for this suggestion is that human judgments support it. This article presents an experiment showing that judgments concerning discount rates are internally inconsistent. These results point to potential problems with the use of judgments referenda for determining discount rates in cost-benefit analyses.
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Keywords: Discounting; biases; dynamic inconsistency; judgments

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6196

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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