IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Time preferences and lifetime outcomes

  • Golsteyn, Bart


    (ROA, Maastricht University)

  • Grönqvist, Hans


    (Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University)

  • Lindahl, Lena


    (Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI))

This paper investigates the relationship between time preferences and lifetime social and economic behavior. We use a Swedish longitudinal dataset that links information from a large survey on children’s time preferences at age 13 to administrative registers spanning over four decades. Our results indicate a substantial adverse relationship between high discount rates and school performance, health, labor supply, and lifetime income. Males and high ability children gain significantly more from being future-oriented. These discrepancies are largest regarding outcomes later in life. We also show that the relationship between time preferences and long-run outcomes operates through early human capital investments.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2013:22.

in new window

Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 04 Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Golsteyn, Bart, Hans Grönqvist and Lena Lindahl, 'Adolescent Time Preferences Predict Lifetime Outcomes' in The Economic Journal, 2014, pages 739-761.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2013_022
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
  2. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Introduction to "Economic Aspects of Health"," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  4. Gaudecker, Hans-Martin von & van Soest, Arthur & Wengström, Erik, 2011. "Experts in Experiments: How Selection Matters for Estimated Distributions of Risk Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 5575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," IZA Discussion Papers 2735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  7. Brian C. Cadena & Benjamin J. Keys, 2015. "Human Capital and the Lifetime Costs of Impatience," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 126-53, August.
  8. Guido Heineck & Silke Anger, 2008. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 836, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Christopher F. Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie L. Morris & Jonathon P. Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual Laboratory-Measured Discount Rates Predict Field Behavior," NBER Working Papers 14270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  11. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Lena Lindahl, 2011. "A comparison of family and neighborhood effects on grades, test scores, educational attainment and income—evidence from Sweden," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(2), pages 207-226, June.
  13. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  14. Gabriel D. Carroll & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1639-1674.
  15. Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2011. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48720, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  16. Gaudecker, Hans-Martin von & Soest, Arthur van & Wengström, Erik, 2008. "Selection and mode effects in risk preference elicitation experiments," Papers 08-46, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  17. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-64, April.
  18. Marco Castillo & Paul Ferraro & Jeff Jordan & Ragan Petrie, 2008. "The Today and Tomorrow of Kids," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2008-10, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  19. David M. Bishai, 2004. "Does time preference change with age?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(4), pages 583-602, December.
  20. Eric Bettinger & Robert Slonim, 2007. "Patience among children," Artefactual Field Experiments 00043, The Field Experiments Website.
  21. Krupka, Erin L. & Stephens, Melvin, 2013. "The stability of measured time preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 11-19.
  22. Borghans,Lex & Golsteyn,Bart H.H., 2005. "Time Discounting and the Body Mass Index," ROA Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  23. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  24. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Economic Aspects of Health," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fuch82-1, September.
  25. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2013_022. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Monica Fällgren)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.