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Instantaneous Gratification

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  • Christopher Harris
  • David Laibson

Abstract

Extending Barro (1999) and Luttmer and Mariotti (2003), we introduce a new model of time preferences: the instantaneous-gratification model. This model applies tractably to a much wider range of settings than existing models. It applies to both complete- and incomplete-market settings and it works with generic utility functions. It works in settings with linear policy rules and in settings in which equilibrium cannot be supported by linear rules. The instantaneous-gratification model also generates a unique equilibrium, even in infinite-horizon applications, thereby resolving the multiplicity problem hitherto associated with dynamically inconsistent models. Finally, it simultaneously features a single welfare criterion and a behavioral tendency towards overconsumption. JEL Codes: C6, C73, D91, E21. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 2013. "Instantaneous Gratification," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 205-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:1:p:205-248
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjs051
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2003. "Consumption--Savings Decisions with Quasi--Geometric Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 365-375, January.
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    5. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
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    7. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    8. Kyle Hyndman & Alberto Bisin, 2009. "Procrastination, Self-Imposed Deadlines and Other Commitment Devices," Departmental Working Papers 0904, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
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    12. Luttmer, Erzo G J & Mariotti, Thomas, 2000. "Subjective Discount Factors," CEPR Discussion Papers 2503, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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