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Hyperbolic discounting and uniform savings floors

  • Benjamin A. Malin

Previous research suggests that, in partial equilibrium, individuals whose decision-making exhibits a present-bias--such as hyperbolic discounters who tend to over-consume--will be in favor of having a floor imposed on their savings. In this paper, I show it is quite difficult for the introduction of a savings floor to be Pareto-improving in general equilibrium. Indeed, a necessary condition for the floor to be Pareto-improving is that it is high enough to be binding for all individuals. Even in that case, because the equilibrium interest rate is affected by the level of the savings floor, some individuals may prefer to commit to a future time path of consumption by facing a high interest rate (and no floor) rather than a high floor.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-59.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-59
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  1. Manuel Amador & Iván Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2006. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 365-396, 03.
  2. Benjamin A. Malin, 2007. "Hyperbolic discounting and uniform savings floors," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-59, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2006. "Do consumers choose the right credit contracts?," Working Paper Series WP-06-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2000. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
  6. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy & Tom Tyler, 2004. "Measuring Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 10514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  8. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
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