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Working paper

Estimating individual time preferences in Russia

In order to achieve the goals of any social policy, it is necessary to select the most effective measures of government initiatives. The response of target groups to various social policy measures can be assessed with the help of the individual discount rate. This rate reflects an individual’s opinion on how to distribute consumption among periods. We start with a definition of individual time preferences. Then we consider problems connected with estimating the individual discount rate. We examine different socio-economic factors that influence individual intertemporal choice in Russia and provide estimates of individual discount rates. Necessary data are obtained from a survey from the Yuri Levada Analytical Center that was conducted in 2011. Valid results are found for most of the hypotheses tested. Our findings suggest that social policy tools for different target groups should vary depending on their individual time preferences. It could help to intensify the impact of social programs and to save budget resources through the correct choice of policy measures.