IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non‐stationary Time Preference and “Hyperbolic” Discounting


  • Drazen Prelec


Despite recent interest in hyperbolic discounting, there has been little discussion of exactly what property of time preferences is instantiated by hyperbolic or quasi‐hyperbolic functional forms. The paper revives an earlier proposal in Prelec (1989) that the key property is Pratt–Arrow convexity of the log of the discount function, which corresponds to decreasing impatience(DI) at the level of preferences. DI provides a natural criterion for assessing the severity of departure from stationarity in that greater DI is equivalent to more choices of dominated options in two‐stage decision problems, as well as greater convexity of the log of the discount function. Inefficient choices may arise as intentional precommitments, or as unintended reversals of preference by “naïve” agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non‐stationary Time Preference and “Hyperbolic” Discounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 511-532, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:106:y:2004:i:3:p:511-532
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0347-0520.2004.00375.x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:106:y:2004:i:3:p:511-532. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.