The effect of military service on soldiers' time preferences - Evidence from Israel

Eyal Lahav, Uri Benzion, Tal Shavit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The current field study compares the time preferences of young adults of similar ages but in two very different environments, one more dangerous and uncertain than the other. Soldiers, college students and a control group of teenagers answered questionnaires about their time preferences. During mandatory service, soldiers live in a violent atmosphere where they face great uncertainty about the near future and high risk of mortality (measured by probability of survival). University students and teenagers live in much calmer environment and are tested for performance only periodically. The soldier-subjects show relatively high subjective discount rates when compared to the other two groups. We suggest that the higher subjective discount rate among soldiers can be the result of high perceived risk in the army as an institution, or higher mortality risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Discount rates
  • Military
  • Perceived risk
  • Soldiers
  • Time preference


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