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Social time preference


  • Pasquale Scaramozzino

    () (Centre for Financial and Management Studies, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG, UK.)

  • Giancarlo Marini

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Istituzioni, UniversitÁ di Roma «Tor Vergata», via di Tor Vergata s.n.c., 00133 Roma, Italy.)


The observed practice of discounting the future should not be rationalised on the grounds of myopia or selfishness. A positive rate of pure time preference is necessary to ensure that heterogeneous generations are treated in an egalitarian fashion. A zero social discount rate would yield intertemporal allocations which are biased against the current generations. Endogenous productivity growth requires that the social discount rate be set above the subjective rate of pure time preference. Positive social time preference, far from discriminating against future generations, is essential for a fairer intertemporal allocation of resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Pasquale Scaramozzino & Giancarlo Marini, 2000. "Social time preference," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(4), pages 639-645.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:13:y:2000:i:4:p:639-645
    Note: Received: 3 July 1999/Accepted: 6 October 1999

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    Cited by:

    1. Clinton, Kevin & Kumhof, Michael & Laxton, Douglas & Mursula, Susanna, 2011. "Deficit reduction: Short-term pain for long-term gain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 118-139, January.
    2. Singh, Ajit & Sheng, Andrew, 2011. "Islamic finance revisited: conceptual and analytical issues from the perspective of conventional economics," MPRA Paper 39007, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Apr 2012.
    3. Giammarioli, Nicola & Annicchiarico, Barbara, 2004. "Fiscal rules and sustainability of public finances in an endogenous growth model," Working Paper Series 381, European Central Bank.
    4. John Creedy & Ross Guest, 2007. "Discounting and the Time Preference Rate: An Introduction," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 993, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Dirk Willenbockel, 2008. "Social time preference revisited," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 609-622, July.
    6. Vanda Almeida & Gabriela Castro & Ricardo Mourinho Félix & José R. Maria, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidation in a Small Euro-Area Economy," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(4), pages 1-38, December.
    7. Giancarlo Marini & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 2008. "Social time preference: a rejoinder," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 623-625, July.
    8. Kumhof, Michael & Laxton, Douglas & Leigh, Daniel, 2014. "To starve or not to starve the beast?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 1-23.
    9. Buchholz, Wolfgang & Schumacher, Jan, 2010. "Discounting and welfare analysis over time: Choosing the [eta]," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 372-385, September.
    10. John Creedy, 2006. "Evaluating Policy: Welfare Weights And Value Judgements," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 971, The University of Melbourne.
    11. Jan Schumacher & Wolfgang Buchholz, 2008. "Discounting and Welfare Analysis Over Time: Choosing the ç," CESifo Working Paper Series 2230, CESifo Group Munich.


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