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Saving Rate Dynamics in the Neoclassical Growth Model – Hyperbolic Discounting and Observational Equivalence

  • Y. Hossein Farzin

    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis, U.S.A, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies (OxCarre), Department of Economics, University of Oxford, UK)

  • Ronald Wendner

    (Department of Economics, University of Graz, Austria)

The standard neoclassical growth model with Cobb-Douglas production predicts a monotonically declining saving rate, when reasonably calibrated. Ample empirical evidence, however, shows that the transition path of a country’s saving rate exhibits a rising or non-monotonic pattern. In important cases, hyperbolic discounting, which is empirically strongly supported, implies transitional dynamics of the saving rate that accords well with empirical evidence. This holds true even in a growth model with Cobb-Douglas production technology. We also identify the cases where hyperbolic discounting is observationally equivalent to exponential discounting. In those cases, hyperbolic discounting does not affect the saving rate dynamics. Numerical simulations employing a generalized class of hyperbolic discounting functions that we term regular discounting functions support the results.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2013.42.

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Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2013.42
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  1. Maddison, Angus, 1992. " A Long-Run Perspective on Saving," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(2), pages 181-96.
  2. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
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  7. Karl-Josef Koch & Timo Trimborn & Thomas M. Steger, 2005. "Multi-Dimensional Transitional Dynamics: A Simple Numerical Procedure," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 121-05, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
  8. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
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