In 3 studies, participants made choices between hypothetical financial, environmental, and health gains and losses that took effect either immediately or with a delay of 1 or 10 years. In all 3 domains, choices indicated that gains were discounted more than losses. There were no significant differences in the discounting of monetary and environmental outcomes, but health gains were discounted more and health losses were discounted less than gains or losses in the other 2 domains. Correlations between implicit discount rates for these different choices suggest that discount rates are influenced more by the valence of outcomes (gains vs. losses) than by domain (money, environment, or health). Overall, results indicate that when controlling as many factors as possible, at short to medium delays, environmental outcomes are discounted in a similar way to financial outcomes, which is good news for researchers and policy makers alike.
Hardisty, D., and Elke Weber. "Discounting future green: Money versus the environment." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 138, no. 3 (August 2009): 329-340.
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