Econometrica: Apr 1960, Volume 28, Issue 2

Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience

https://doi.org/0012-9682(196004)28:2<287:SOUAI>2.0.CO;2-N
p. 287-309

Tjalling C. Koopmans

This paper investigates Bohm-Bawerk's idea of a preference for advancing the timing of future satisfactions from a somewhat different point of view. It is shown that simple postulates about the utility function of a consumption program for an infinite future logically imply impatience at least for certain broad classes of programs. The postulates assert continuity, sensitivity, stationarity of the utility function, the absence of intertemporal complementarity, and the existence of a best and a worst program. The more technical parts of the proof are set off in starred sections.

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