The discounting of lives saved in future generations--some empirical results

Health Econ. Jul-Aug 1996;5(4):329-32. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1050(199607)5:4<329::AID-HEC213>3.0.CO;2-#.


The aim of this note is to estimate the discount rates that individuals in the present generation in Sweden use to discount lives saved in future generations at different points in time. A binary survey question, where individuals choose between saving lives in their own generation versus saving lives in future generations, was administered in a general population sample of 850 individuals. Three time horizons of 20, 50 and 100 years were used in three different subsamples. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the discount rate. The estimated annual discount rate is 25% for the 20 year time horizon, 12% for the 50 year time horizon and 8% for the 100 year time horizon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Female
  • Forecasting / methods*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Value of Life*