Owen D. Jones


I want to start off with what I consider to be the statement of the problem. As I understand it, you’re concerned that the time horizons for maximizing the value of an investment vary among individuals in surprisingly wide, imperfectly predictable, and often seemingly irrational ways. And, if I understand your target here, the idea is that a deeper understanding of the causes of this variation might aid in the planning and design of legal and corporate policies. To jump into this, I’m going to give a little bit of an introduction about behavioral biases, and something that I’ve called “time-shifted rationality.” I’ll then back up to provide some basic context about where behavior comes from, from a brain science perspective, and then talk about two key things. First: Why does the brain discount time? Second: How does the brain discount time? I’ll then spend a few minutes, toward the end, talking about prospects for interdisciplinary consilience, in furtherance of a more accurate and robust model of time discounting.