Intertemporal Choice with Continuity Constraints

45 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2018

See all articles by Marcus Pivato

Marcus Pivato

THEMA, CY Cergy Paris Université

Date Written: August 10, 2018


We consider a model of intertemporal choice where time is a continuum, the set of instantaneous outcomes (e.g. consumption bundles) is a topological space, and where intertemporal plans (e.g. consumption streams) must be continuous functions of time. We assume the agent can form preferences over plans defined on open time intervals. We axiomatically characterize the intertemporal preferences that admit a representation via discounted utility integrals. In this representation, the utility function is continuous and unique up to positive affine transformations, and the discount structure is represented by a unique Riemann-Stieltjes integral plus a unique linear functional measuring the long-run asymptotic utility.

Keywords: Intertemporal Choice; Intergenerational Social Choice; Technological Feasibility; Continuous Utility; Stone-Čech Compactification

JEL Classification: D15; D63; D90; H43; Q01

Suggested Citation

Pivato, Marcus, Intertemporal Choice with Continuity Constraints (August 10, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Marcus Pivato (Contact Author)

THEMA, CY Cergy Paris Université ( email )

33 Boulevard du Port
Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, Cedex 95011

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