Working Paper

Visual convex time preferences: Lab, field and high schools


The original standard for measuring time preferences was Multiple Price List (MPL), where subjects are asked to choose between an amount of money in the present and a larger amount of money in the future. Convex Time Budget (CTB) was later introduced, allowing subjects to differentially allocate money between present and future. It improved precision of measurement but also increased the complexity of the task. In this paper we introduce the Visual Convex Time Preferences (VCTP), a new measure of time preferences synthesizing simplicity of MPL and precision of CTB. Results from the lab suggest that VCTP is robust and improves precision of time preferences measurement compared to the MPL. Same results are replicated in the field of Honduras, especially when the experiment is run with the help of enumerators. Experiments with teenagers show that younger population exhibit high level of inconsistency although older participants perform better.

Keywords: time discount,