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Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference

Author

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  • Michael Daly
  • Liam Delaney
  • Colm P. Harmon

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm P. Harmon, 2009. "Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 659-669, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:659-669
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    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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