How much do we discount past pleasures?

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Future-biased individuals systematically prefer pleasures to be in the future (positive future-bias) and pains to be in the past (negative future-bias). Recent empirical research shows that negative future-bias exists and that it is strong: people prefer more past pain to less future pain. In fact, people prefer ten units of past pain to one unit of future pain. By contrast, this research shows that people do not prefer ten units of past pleasure to one unit of future pleasure. Thus the question remains: is positive future-bias strong or weak? The answer is important for the philosophical literature: some arguments against the rationality of future-bias require positive future-bias to be strong, while others require it to be weak. We empirically investigate this question, and show that positive future-bias is indeed strong. Hence some arguments against future-bias are supported by empirical results while others are undermined.
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First archival date: 2021-05-06
Latest version: 2 (2021-07-10)
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