Correlates of delay-discount rates: Evidence from Tsimane' Amerindians of the Bolivian rain forest

Kris N. Kirby*, Ricardo Godoy, Victoria Reyes-García, Elizabeth Byron, Lilian Apaza, William Leonard, Eddy Pérez, Vincent Vadez, David Wilkie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Delay-discount rates (or rates of time preference) are associated with rates of consumption and a variety of impulsive behaviors. Despite the importance of discounting, little is known about its covariates. We estimated discount rates for money and candy rewards in each of four quarters for 154 Tsimane' Amerindians (10-80 years of age). The Tsimane' are a horticultural and foraging society in the tropical rain forest of Bolivia. Discount rates increased with age, decreased with educational levels and literacy, and tended to decrease as recent income rose. Rates were not associated with wealth, nutritional status, or moderate drug use. There were low but reliable correlations between discount rates across quarters, suggesting that a person's discount rate is a somewhat stable characteristic that is also strongly influenced by situational factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-316
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Choice behavior
  • Delay of gratification
  • Economics
  • Impulsiveness
  • Monetary rewards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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