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Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference

  • Michael Daly
  • Liam Delaney
  • Colm P. Harmon

This paper considers the relationship between the economic concept of time preference and relevant concepts from psychology and biology. Using novel data from a time diary study conducted in Ireland that combined detailed psychometric testing with medical testing and real-time bio-tracking, we examine the extent to which individual differences in financial discounting are related to underlying biological and psychological differences. The paper finds that financial discounting is related to a range of psychological variables including consideration of future consequences, self-control, conscientiousness, extraversion, and experiential avoidance, as well as being predicted by heart rate variability and blood pressure. (JEL: D01, D9, C81) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 659-669

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:659-669
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