# 11-087/3 (2011-06-09)

Pieter A. Gautier, VU University Amsterdam; Aico van Vuuren, VU University Amsterdam
present bias, hyperbolic discounting, discount rate, hedonic estimation
JEL codes:
C52, D03, D12

When agents have present bias, they discount more between now and thenext period than between period t (> 1) and t + 1. How fast the future discount rate (evaluated today) decays is an empirical question. Weshow that the discount function can be non-parametrically identified withcontracts that specify payments that take place at various points in timein the future and which are traded and priced in a competitive market.We use a unique land lease-contract data set for Amsterdam, which hasthe above properties, to test for present bias in a flexible way. We findno evidence for present bias in this market. Even though we allow for ageneral-hyperbolic specification (which has exponential discounting as aspecial case), our estimates converge to an exponential discount functionwith a corresponding discount rate (in our baseline specification) of 8 %.