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Time discounting and wealth inequality


Epper, Thomas; Fehr, Ernst; Fehr-Duda, Helga; Kreiner, Claus Thustrup; Lassen, David Dreyer; Leth-Petersen, Søren; Rasmussen, Gregers Nytoft (2020). Time discounting and wealth inequality. American Economic Review, 110(4):1177-1205.

Abstract

This paper documents a large association between individuals’ time discounting in incentivized experiments and their positions in the real-life wealth distribution derived from Danish high-quality administrative data for a large sample of middle-aged individuals. The association is stable over time, exists through the wealth distribution and remains large after controlling for education, income profile, school grades, initial wealth, parental wealth, credit constraints, demographics, risk preferences, and additional behavioral parameters. Our results suggest that savings behavior is a driver of the observed association between patience and wealth inequality as predicted by standard savings theory.

Abstract

This paper documents a large association between individuals’ time discounting in incentivized experiments and their positions in the real-life wealth distribution derived from Danish high-quality administrative data for a large sample of middle-aged individuals. The association is stable over time, exists through the wealth distribution and remains large after controlling for education, income profile, school grades, initial wealth, parental wealth, credit constraints, demographics, risk preferences, and additional behavioral parameters. Our results suggest that savings behavior is a driver of the observed association between patience and wealth inequality as predicted by standard savings theory.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wealth inequality, savings behavior, time discounting, experimental methods, administrative data
Language:English
Date:April 2020
Deposited On:17 Sep 2020 13:14
Last Modified:16 Nov 2020 18:10
Publisher:American Economic Association
ISSN:0002-8282
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.20181096
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/162981/

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