Marketing Letters

, Volume 16, Issue 3–4, pp 347–360 | Cite as

The Psychology of Intertemporal Discounting: Why are Distant Events Valued Differently from Proximal Ones?

  • Dilip SomanEmail author
  • George Ainslie
  • Shane Frederick
  • Xiuping Li
  • John Lynch
  • Page Moreau
  • Andrew Mitchell
  • Daniel Read
  • Alan Sawyer
  • Yaacov Trope
  • Klaus Wertenbroch
  • Gal Zauberman


Research in intertemporal choice has been done in a variety of contexts, yet there is a remarkable consensus that future outcomes are discounted (or undervalued) relative to immediate outcomes. In this paper, we (a) review some of the key findings in the literature, (b) critically examine and articulate implicit assumptions, (c) distinguish between intertemporal effects arising due to time preference versus those due to changes in utility as a function of time, and (d) identify issues and questions that we believe serve as avenues for future research.


Time Preference Implicit Assumption Distant Event Future Outcome Remarkable Consensus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dilip Soman
    • 1
    Email author
  • George Ainslie
    • 2
  • Shane Frederick
    • 3
  • Xiuping Li
    • 1
  • John Lynch
    • 4
  • Page Moreau
    • 5
  • Andrew Mitchell
    • 1
  • Daniel Read
    • 6
  • Alan Sawyer
    • 7
  • Yaacov Trope
    • 8
  • Klaus Wertenbroch
    • 9
  • Gal Zauberman
    • 10
  1. 1.University of TorontoToronto
  2. 2.Temple UniversityLos Angeles
  3. 3.Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. 4.Duke UniversityUSA
  5. 5.University of Colorado
  6. 6.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondon
  7. 7.University of Florida
  8. 8.New York University
  9. 9.INSEADSingapore
  10. 10.University of North CarolinaChapel Hill

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