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Interpersonal Discounting: What if Your Future is Not My Future?

03 Nov
Friday, 11/03/2017 12:15pm to 2:00pm
Computer Science Building, Room 150/151
CSSI Lunch
Speaker: Rong Rong

"Interpersonal Discounting: What if Your Future is Not My Future?"

Abstract:  Future returns imply both a delay of satisfaction and a degree of uncertainty. Therefore, one must choose the proper rate of discounting to determine whether certain projects are worth investing in. When one's evaluation involves social projects such as reducing CO2 emissions or raising funds for public education, the complexity for choosing a proper discount rate increases as those who pay the costs do not reap the full future benefits. In a series of projects, we adopt a "revealed preference approach" to measure discounting behavior in a context that involves more than one person. Both laboratory and field experiment results suggest that people discount other's future differently from their own. We propose future designs of experiments to include more features that capture the interpersonal nature of public policy decisions.

Bio:  Dr. Rong Rong is an Assistant Professor in Resource Economics At Umass Amherst. Rong's research centers on using laboratory and field experiments to generate causal inference on human behavior. Her past projects investigate the process of social network formation in the context of communication. Her current focus shifts towards environmental economics, comparing how people discount future consumptions in an interpersonal context. Her research has been published in European Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Environmental and Resource Economics, among other outlets.

Lunch will be provided, beginning at 12:15 pm
Talk begins at 12:30 pm