Human Capital and the Lifetime Costs of Impatience Journal Article uri icon



  • In this paper, we examine the role of impatience in human capital formation—arguably the most important investment decision individuals make during their lifetimes. We focus on a set of investment behaviors that cannot be explained solely by variation in exponential discounting. Using data from the NL SY and a straightforward measure of impatience, we find that impatient people more frequently invest in dynamically inconsistent ways, such as dropping out of college with one year or less remaining. The cumulative investment differences result in the impatient earning 13 percent less and expressing more regret as this cohort reaches middle age. (JEL D91, I26, J24, J31)

publication date

  • August 1, 2015

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • February 12, 2015 12:47 PM

Full Author List

  • Cadena BC; Keys BJ

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1945-7731

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1945-774X

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 126

end page

  • 153


  • 7


  • 3