November 22, 2013 at 11:59 am #18097
Yes, Americans have higher time preferences today than Americans a hundred years ago. Evidence of this is saving as a proportion of income. In the late 19th century Americans saved 20-25 percent of their income. Today it’s 5 percent. Other evidence would be personal debt per household. Their was almost no consumer debt in America before the 1920s. Now the personal debt per household is around $200,000. Of course, it’s also true that the average household hold much more valuable assets than it did a hundred years ago.
Here’s a Fed study on household debt: