On Intertemporal Selfishness: How the Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumption
Coauthor(s): Oleg Urminsky.
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We explore how the anticipated connectedness between one's current and future identity can help explain impatience in intertemporal preferences. The less closely connected psychologically a person is to his or her future self, the less willing he or she will be to forgo immediate benefits in order to ensure larger deferred benefits to be received by that future self. We show that when people's measured or manipulated sense of continuity with their future self is lower, they accept smaller-sooner rewards, wait less in order to save money on a purchase, require a larger premium to delay receiving a gift card, and have lower long-term discount rates.
Bartels, Daniel, and Oleg Urminsky. "On Intertemporal Selfishness: How the Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumption." Journal of Consumer Research
38 (June 2011): 182-198.