Discounting and Future Selves
AbstractIs discounting of future instantaneous utilities consistent with altruism towards future selves? More precisely, can temporal preferences, expressed as a sum of discounted instantaneous utilities, be derived from a representation in the form of a sum of discounted total utilities? We find that a representation in the quasi-exponential (ß,d)-form in Phelps and Pollak (1968) and Laibson (1997) correspond to quasi-exponential altruism towards one's future selves. For ß=1/2, these welfare weights are exponential, while for ß 1/2 in favor of one's future selves. More generally, we establish a functional equation which relates welfare weights to instantaneous-utility weights and apply this equation to a number of examples. We also postulate five desiderata for instantaneous-utility discounting. None of the usual discount functions satisfy all desiderata, but we propose a simple class of discount functions which does.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 575.
Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 21 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Theory, 2005, pages 254-266.
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Altruism; Discounting; Dynamic Inconsistency; Welfare ;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2002-03-14 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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