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Optimal Growth with Variable Rate of Time Preference


  • Mausumi Das

    (Delhi School of Economics)


In this paper we develop a continuous time infinite horizon optimal growth model with identical households, where the households' rate of time preference is endogenously determined. However, unlike the existing literature, we assume here that the instantaneous discount rate of the representative household is negatively related to its current consumption. With this assumption, we analyze the long run dynamic behaviour of the economy. We show that contrary to the general belief, a negative relationship between the instantaneous discount rate and the household's current consumption does not necessarily result in instability of the dynamic system. We derive a set of sufficient conditions for stability and instability in this context. We also show the possible existence of a poverty trap such that if an economy starts with a per capita income below a certain critical minimum value, then it optimally chooses a consumption-accumulation path such that it faces economic retrogression over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Mausumi Das, 1999. "Optimal Growth with Variable Rate of Time Preference," Working papers 70, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:70

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    Cited by:

    1. Das, Mausumi, 2003. "Optimal growth with decreasing marginal impatience," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(10), pages 1881-1898, August.

    More about this item


    Variable time preference; Long run dynamics; Poverty trap.;

    JEL classification:

    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models


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