Interest and inflation rates may be major determinants of delay discounting, but these variables have not been controlled in past experiments because they depend on macroeconomic conditions. This study uses a computer game-like task to investigate the effects of inflation rates on people's subjective valuation of delayed rewards. During the task, participants saved virtual money, received interest, and bought items under inflation and interest rate conditions controlled by the experimenter. ThE! subjective values participants placed on delayed rewards were measured during choice periods, after participants learned of item price changes and expected interest earnings. In 2 of 3 experiments, the effects of inflation rates were investigated when the nominal interest rate (Experiment 1) or the real interest rate (E:xperiment 3) was constant across the 3 experimental conditions (inflationary, zeroinflationary, and deflationary). The effect of nominal interest rates under the deflationary condition was also investigated (Experiment 2). The results suggest that inflation and interest rates affect participants' subjective discounting of delayed rewards.
"The Effects of Inflation and Interest Rates on Delay Discounting in Human Behavior,"
The Psychological Record:
4, Article 6.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol56/iss4/6