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A Present of Things to Come

Kennedy, James


James Kennedy


This thesis investigates whether individual discount rates are predictive of life satisfaction, career satisfaction and career success. A review of the literature as it stands led me to believe that there is a gap in the literature at the intersection of well-established biases concerning the way that we make decisions about our own happiness, and the influence of temporality on the way we make decisions in general. In three separate studies I performed multiple regression analysis with nationally representative samples of UK adults and found that the extent to which people devalue future rewards is negatively correlated with evaluative wellbeing, hedonic wellbeing, career satisfaction and career success. The data also revealed that greater discounts on future rewards are associated with higher expected future life satisfaction. This leaves the archetypal high discounter being less likely to be satisfied with their life and career at present but more likely to expect significant improvements in the future. Following these results I performed a qualitative study investigating the cognitive processes behind the ways different people make discount rate decisions with regard to their life and career. The results suggest there are identifiable domains in which these decisions are made that may be subject to intervention. In the final chapter I summarise how the results of these four studies relate to one another before discussing their implications and the potential for future research in the area.

Thesis Type Thesis
APA6 Citation Kennedy, J. A Present of Things to Come. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from
Keywords discount rate, happiness, life satisfaction