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CEP discussion paper

How do households value the future? Evidence from property taxes


Despite the near ubiquity of inter-temporal choice, there is little consensus on the rate at which individuals trade present and future costs and benefits. We contribute to this debate by estimating discount rates from extensive data on housing transactions and spatio-temporal variation in property taxes in England. Our findings imply long-term average discount rates that are between 3 and 4%. The close correspondence to prevailing market interest rates gives little reason to suggest that households misoptimise by materially undervaluing very long term financial flows in this high stakes context.


Hans R. A. Koster and Edward W. Pinchbeck

10 September 2018     Paper Number CEPDP1571

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.