The rate of time preference (RTP) and the intertemporal elasticity of substitution (IES) are two important factors shaping intertemporal consumption decisions. Models in which the RTP and/or the IES differ systematically between rich and poor households have different empirical and policy implications for economic development, growth, and the distribution of income and consumption from those of standard models in which these parameters are constant across households. In this paper, we estimate a model in which both RTP and IES are allowed to differ across rich and poor households using household-level panel data from India. Our empirical results are consistent with the view that the RTP is constant across poor and rich households, but the IES is larger for the rich than it is for the poor.
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