The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Larry G. Epstein
Reference work entry


Impatience refers to the preference for earlier rather than later consumption an idea which stems from Böhm-Bawerk (1912) and Fisher (1930), among others. Preference orderings that exhibit impatience are also described as being myopic or as embodying discounting. Because in many contexts the future has no natural termination date, an infinite horizon framework is most appropriate and convenient for the analysis of many problems in intertemporal economics. The open-endedness of the future raises several issues surrounding impatience (its presence, degree, and the precise form it takes) which do not arise in finite horizon models.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry G. Epstein
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