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The Time Path of the Saving Rate: Hyperbolic Discounting and Short-Term Planning

Author

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  • Y. Hossein Farzin

    () (University of California at Davis)

  • Ronald Wendner

    () (Karl-Franzens University of Graz)

Abstract

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 paths of most countries saving rates exhibit a statistically significant hump-shaped pattern. Prior literature shows that CES production may imply a hump-shaped pattern of the saving rate (Gomz, 2008). However, the implied magnitude of the hump falls short of what is seen in empirical data. We introduce two non-standard features of preferences into a neoclassical growth model with CES production: hyperbolic discounting and short planning horizons. We show that, in contrast to the commonly accepted argument, in general (except for the special case of logarithmic utility) a model with hyperbolic discounting is not observationally equivalent to one with exponential discounting. We also show that our framework implies a hump-shaped saving rate dynamics that is consistent with empirical evidence. Hyperbolic discounting turns out to be a major factor explaining the magnitude of the hump of the saving rate path. Numerical simulations employing a generalized class of hyperbolic discount functions, which we term regular discount functions, support the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Y. Hossein Farzin & Ronald Wendner, 2014. "The Time Path of the Saving Rate: Hyperbolic Discounting and Short-Term Planning," Graz Economics Papers 2014-04, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:grz:wpaper:2014-04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cabo, Francisco & Martín-Herrán, Guiomar & Martínez-García, María Pilar, 2016. "Unbounded growth in the Neoclassical growth model with non-constant discounting," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 93-104.
    2. Cabo, Francisco & Martín-Herrán, Guiomar & Martínez-García, María Pilar, 2015. "Non-constant discounting and Ak-type growth models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 54-58.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Saving rate dynamics; non-monotonic transition path; hyperbolic discounting; short-term planning; neoclassical growth model;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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