In Search of Determinants of Time-Discounting in Monetary Choices: Personal Characteristics Matter Only a Little
Keywords:time-discounting, delay discounting, monetary choices, predictors of time-discounting, personal characteristics
Time-discounting in monetary choices is determined by aspects related to the reward, contextual factors and characteristics of a person. In the present study, we used three datasets (Ndata1 = 419; Ndata2 = 485; Ndata3 = 240) to examine how well personal characteristics (sociodemographic, financial situation, self-control, cognitive abilities, negative experiencing, and trustfulness) predict time-discounting in both hypothetical and real reward scenarios. The results of the regression analyses indicate that the characteristics of a person only explain a small proportion of the variance in time-discounting (R2 ranged from .10 to .19). The only substantive predictors of time-discounting in monetary choices were financial literacy and the general tendency to delay gratification. We conclude that there remains much work to be done in explaining what determines time-discounting. However, shifting the focus from personal characteristics to the characteristics of reward and contextual factors could be of interest.
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