Collective Dynamic Choice: The Necessity of Time Inconsistency

33 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2010 Last revised: 23 Nov 2014

See all articles by Matthew O. Jackson

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute

Leeat Yariv

Princeton University

Date Written: November 2014


We study collective decisions by time-discounting individuals choosing a common consumption stream. We show that with any heterogeneity in time preferences, every Pareto efficient and non-dictatorial method of aggregating utility functions must be time-inconsistent. We also show that decisions made via non-dictatorial voting methods are intransitive.

Keywords: Preference Aggregation, Collective Preferences, Time Consistency, Intransitive Preferences, Voting, Cyclic Preferences, Present Bias, Hyperbolic Discounting, Social Welfare Ordering

JEL Classification: D72, D71, D91, D03, D11, E24

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Matthew O. and Yariv, Leeat, Collective Dynamic Choice: The Necessity of Time Inconsistency (November 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Matthew O. Jackson (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
1-650-723-3544 (Phone)


Santa Fe Institute

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Leeat Yariv

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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