Discounting and Future Selves
Is discounting of future instantaneous utilities consistent with altruism towards future selves? More precisely, can temporal preferences, expressed as a sum of discounted instantaneous utilities, be derived from a representation in the form of a sum of discounted total utilities? We find that a representation in the quasi-exponential (ß,d)-form in Phelps and Pollak (1968) and Laibson (1997) correspond to quasi-exponential altruism towards one's future selves. For ß=1/2, these welfare weights are exponential, while for ß 1/2 in favor of one's future selves. More generally, we establish a functional equation which relates welfare weights to instantaneous-utility weights and apply this equation to a number of examples. We also postulate five desiderata for instantaneous-utility discounting. None of the usual discount functions satisfy all desiderata, but we propose a simple class of discount functions which does.
|Date of creation:||21 Feb 2002|
|Publication status:||Published in Journal of Economic Theory, 2005, pages 254-266.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden|
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
Web page: http://www.ifn.se/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Andrew B. Abel & B. Douglas Bernheim, 1988.
"Fiscal Policy With Impure Intergenerational Altruism,"
NBER Working Papers
2613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Abel, Andrew B & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "Fiscal Policy with Impure Intergenerational Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1687-1711, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0575. 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: (Elisabeth Gustafsson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.