Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Judd Kessler


Traditional economic theory assumes that policymakers are rational. However, one bias that policymakers may exhibit is hyperbolic discounting, particularly in health and environmental policy. This paper investigated whether a correlation between hyperbolic discounting and COVID-19 policy responses existed. Results showed that rational discounting and hyperbolic discounting both explain the stringency of policy responses across the world, although this effect was not driven by any specific policies. Further research is needed to determine the mechanism behind the relationship.


hyperbolic discounting, time preferences, behavioral economics, public policy



Date Posted: 09 October 2020


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