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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.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 639-645

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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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