Individuals' Rates of Time Preference for Life-Saving Programs in Developing Countries: Results from a Multi-Country Study

Individuals' time preferences for mortality reductions are measured in six Less Developed Countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia using the contingent valuation method. The results indicate that individuals' discount factors are much lower than those estimated for a United States sample. Also, respondents' intertemporal preferences for saving lives are characterized by a nonexponential discount function. We conclude that the discounting practices currently used in standard economic analyses of development projects are probably poor representations of individuals' actual intertemporal preferences.



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Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia