Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

4-2015

Advisor

Parker Wheatley, Economics; Rodger Narloch, Psychology

Abstract

Individuals tend to discount the future, meaning they value a reward more in the present than the same reward in the future. Research indicates there are several consequences to the rate one discounts the future, suggesting those who value the future more have better life outcomes. Because of the ramifications of such decisions, this study explores the dynamic of the relationship between discounting and one’s happiness. Participants indicated an indifference point for given present values for given time periods in the future, using both money and periods happiness as hypothetical rewards. These indifference points allow for the calculation of various discounting parameters. Furthermore, the research analyzes if knowing about the positive effects of valuing the future more affected how people made their decisions. The study also includes a further analysis of different discounting functions, as well as proposes functions which incorporate happiness into the model, and discusses the implications of the different models. Although only two tests returned statistically significant results, most measures aligned with the hypotheses.

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