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Time consistency and time invariance in collective intertemporal choice

Millner, Antony and Heal, Geoffrey (2018) Time consistency and time invariance in collective intertemporal choice. Journal of Economic Theory, 176. pp. 158-169. ISSN 1095-7235

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jet.2018.03.002


Recent work on collective intertemporal choice suggests that non-dictatorial social preferences are generically time inconsistent. We argue that this claim conflates time consistency with two distinct properties of preferences: stationarity and time invariance. While time invariance and stationarity together imply time consistency, the converse does not hold. Although non-dictatorial social preferences cannot be stationary, they may be time consistent if time invariance is abandoned. If individuals are discounted utilitarians, revealed preference provides no guidance on whether social preferences should be time consistent or time invariant. Nevertheless, we argue that time invariant social preferences are often normatively and descriptively problematic.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D60 - General
D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D71 - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
D - Microeconomics > D9 - Intertemporal Choice and Growth > D90 - General
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 15:02
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 18:12
Projects: ES/K006576/1
Funders: UK Economic and Social Research Council

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